LONDON (Reuters) - British wildcard James Ward battled past Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic on Thursday to reach the third round of Wimbledon for the first time, delighting a vociferous home crowd.
The 6-2 7-6(4) 3-6 6-3 victory on a sun-baked Court Two moved Ward into the top 100 and meant Britain had more than one man in Wimbledon’s third round for the first time since 2002, after his rather more celebrated compatriot Andy Murray also went through.
After winning the first set with some crunching shots Ward was made to work harder against an opponent ranked 66 places above him at No.45 in the world. The 28-year-old Briton missed numerous chances to break in the second set but produced a superb back-hand lob on his way to taking the tiebreak.
Vesely, who reached the third round at Wimbledon last year, found more of a rhythm with his big service game to take the third before stopping to receive treatment on his left shoulder.
Broken early in the fourth the Czech had chances to hit back but was thwarted by a scurrying Ward who sealed victory and a first ever grand slam third-round appearance when Vesely sent a weary backhand into the net.
Ward will play either Canadian Vasek Pospisil or Italian 30th seed Fabio Fognini next.
Editing by Clare Lovell