James Ward fights back to stun John Isner in Davis Cup triumph
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
Camden’s James Ward played a central role as Great Britain beat the US in the Davis Cup at the weekend, fighting back from two sets down to defeat world No20 John Isner in a marathon showdown.
Ward, from Eversholt Street near Euston station, won the fifth set 15-13 after almost five hours, giving the hosts a commanding 2-0 lead in the tie – and they went on to win 3-2 to secure a home clash with France in the quarter-finals.
Andy Murray had already beaten Donald Young when 28-year-old Ward – the world No111 – faced 6ft 10ins Isner at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow on Saturday.
Ward had produced an upset when Great Britain beat the US in the same stage of the competition last year, overcoming Sam Querrey in four sets – and history was about to repeat itself.
The first set went to a tie-break, which Isner won 7-5, and the American then broke serve for the first time in the match to take the second set 7-5.
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But Ward battled back, finally breaking himself to take the third set 6-3 before winning the fourth on a tie-break, 7-3, to level the match.
With no tie-break in the fifth and final set, it reached 11-11 – at which point Ward had to save two breaks points, the second in a long and tense rally.
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But the north Londoner looked the more likely winner and, after six match points, he finally won the deciding set in the 28th game.
“This is by far the best atmosphere I’ve ever been involved in and thank you very much to all the crowd,” said Ward. “It was difficult. I had a lot of chances in the last set. It was an unbelievable match.”
America’s Bryan brothers beat Britain’s Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot in the doubles after another five-set thriller, but Andy Murray beat Isner to put the home team 3-1 up with just one match to play and win the tie.
Ward’s second singles match against Young was therefore a dead rubber and, after winning the first set 7-5, he retired injured.