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Page last updated at 21:06 GMT, Monday, 22 June 2009 22:06 UK

Verdasco cruises past Brit Ward

Date: 22 June - 5 July
Coverage: Breakfast previews and regular live updates in BBC local radio sport bulletins plus live coverage BBC One, BBC Two, BBC HD, Red Button, website streaming (UK only) and text commentary, 5 Live, 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC iPlayer
Tennis on the BBC

By Phil Maiden at Wimbledon

James Ward
Ward was given a wildcard into the main draw

British number four James Ward was unable to cause a first-round upset as he went down to Spain's Fernando Verdasco in three sets.

The 22-year-old from Middlesex had moments where he put his seventh-seeded opponent under pressure.

But Australian Open semi-finalist Verdasco used his experience against his plucky opponent to secure a 6-1 6-3 6-4 victory.

Verdasco will now face fourth seed Novak Djokovic in the next round.

The 25-year-old won Ward's first service game after a hard-fought showing from the Brit, and he soon took control of the match as he raced to a 4-0 lead.

Ward fought back to give himself a glimmer of hope when, although it looked like he had blown his chance at 40-15 up, he came through a deuce to win his first game of the match.

But the Spaniard's quality again showed in the next when he staved off pressure from the world number 224, coolly finishing off an impressive long rally at 30-30.

Having won the set 6-1, the second continued in similar fashion as Verdasco again showed his authority by breaking Ward's serve in the second game.


After going 3-0 down, the Middlesex player pulled a game back before his Spanish opponent again, despite some plucky effort from Ward, went three games ahead.

The Brit did make a fight-back midway through the second set, putting the left-hander under pressure in his service game with the score at 4-2, including a wonderful lob at 15-15.

Ward produced a stunning cross-court shot, with the score at 5-3, but it was not enough to force his way back into contention, with the Verdasco taking the second set.

The Middlesex player continued to improve in what was to be the final set, holding serve in his first four service games before dropping his fifth after a deuce.

Verdqasco will be hoping he can get past the last 16 at Wimbledon for the first time while Ward will be hoping to use the experience to target a place in the world's top 100.

Josh Goodall
Goodall has never been past the first round at Wimbledon in three attempts

British men's number two Josh Goodall was locked at one set each with Frenchman Michael Llodra when bad light stopped play with their first-round tie perfectly poised at 4-6 7-6 (7-5).

Goodall put on a brutal display of consistent power-serving to rock his opponent and threaten a shock as he took the opening set with the only break, recording five aces on the way.

The 23-year-old, whose fastest serve was 134mph, again pushed hard in the second set, however, the world number 137 traded games with the man from Basingstoke to force a tie-break.

And it was the Frenchman who held his nerve to edge out Goodall and leave an exciting match in prospect on Tuesday.

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