Bad day for Brits as Fleming & Marray and Ward follow Murray in defeat

By Philip James

Jean-Julien Rojer /Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi def Colin Fleming/Jonathan Marray 6-4, 6-1; Monte Carlo

Mischa Zverev def James Ward 6-1, 2-6, 6-4; Sarasota

It was a disappointing day for the Brits on the red clay of Monte Carlo as, simultaneous to Andy Murray’s loss to Stanislas Wawrinka on Court Central, Colin Fleming and Jonathan Marray were suffering the same fate a few courts over.

It was always likely to be a tough ask for the all-British team against fourth seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and so it proved.

Rojer and Quereshi, ranked 8th and 9th in doubles respectively, have played together regularly since the start of the 2012 season, reaching 5 finals together and winning three of them, including the Miami Masters in March.

But Marray and Fleming, ranked 16th and 29th respectively in doubles, have formed a promising partnership of their own this year and held their own for the first half of the match.

Indeed they actually won more points than the fourth seeds in the first set and created four break points but sadly could not take any.

They largely dominated on serve but their opponents were able to make inroads into just one game and took their only break point to win the set.

The second set however was a different story as the Brits struggled to make first serves and won no points on their second serve.

They won just one game, which was a break, as the Dutch-Pakistani combo of Rojer and Quereshi ran out to win 6-4, 6-1 in just under an hour to book their place in the Masters quarter-finals.

Later in the day, at the Sarasota Open in Florida, James Ward exited the clay Challenger tournament in dramatic fashion, losing to world 152 Mischa Zverev after being two breaks to the good in the decider.

The first set followed the disappointing trend of the day as Ward, ranked 214, lost comprehensively 6-1, struggling as the 25-year-old German made a ridiculous 93% of first serves.

But London-born Ward, 26, fought back in the second set, able to impress more of his own game and get a handle on his opponent’s serve, breaking twice to take the set 6-3 and level the match.

The day looked like it might end on a high for British tennis as Ward broke twice to lead 4-1, just two holds short of the quarter-finals.

But from that point the momentum of the match shifted once again.

Zverev reeled off five games in a row including three breaks, the last one to love, to win the set 6-4 and with it the match in two hours and five minutes.

This was Ward’s first tournament match since his five-set victory over Dmitry Tursunov in Team GB’s epic Davis Cup victory over Russia two weekends ago.

That win left fans and pundits wondering if Ward could translate the form to the tour and while he battled well against a player who has been ranked as high as 45, he cannot help but be disappointed to have lost from a winning position – something he also did in his first rubber against Russia.