James Ward gives Robredo a scare in first round of French Open

James Ward

James Ward - Credit: EMPICS Sport

Camden’s James Ward gave 17th seed Tommy Robredo a scare in the first round of the French Open today, winning the first set before going down in four sets.

The 27-year-old, from Eversholt Street near Euston station, became the first British man to come through the qualifiers at Roland Garros for 41 years on Friday and he carried that momentum into the main draw, taking the first set 6-4 but ultimately losing 4-6 6-4 6-2 6-4.

It was the Spaniard Robredo who made the better start in steady drizzle, breaking Ward’s serve in the third game, but back came the British number three to level at 3-3.

He then saved a break point to hold for 5-4, his serve getting him out of trouble, and piled the pressure on Robredo as the rain became ever heavier.

Robredo saved three set points but not a fourth, Ward taking it with a forehand winner and a pump of the fist.

The quality and conviction of his play was hugely impressive but a break for rain did not seem to help him as on the resumption a series of loose points saw him drop his serve to start the second set.

He continued to put pressure on Robredo and took his chance in the eighth game to level at 4-4 when the Spaniard missed a backhand, only to drop his serve again straight away.

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In rain reminiscent of the end of the opener, Robredo served out the set, and the pair stayed in their chairs while the worst of the weather passed.

Ward did not seem happy about starting again and, like in the second set, he dropped his serve straight away.

When Robredo held from 0-40 in the next game, Ward began to look a little weary, and the third set quickly slipped away.

He renewed his efforts at the start of the fourth but must have felt like he was playing a wall as Robredo retrieved everything.

The Spaniard broke Ward’s serve for the sixth time in the match to move 3-2 ahead and clinched victory after two hours and 53 minutes.

It was not without some final heroics from Ward, though, who saved two match points in fine style on his own serve.