Ward and Bedene ousted in Nottingham

By Niall Clarke

  • James Ward loses in three sets to Tim Smyczek
  • Aljaz Bedene loses in straight sets to Adrian Mannarino
  • No British players are left in the draw

James Ward, and Aljaz Bedene were both knocked out of the Nottingham Open on Tuesday, meaning there are no more British payers left in the draw.

Following Kyle Edmund’s loss on Monday, Ward led by a set against Tim Smyczek before rain suspended play until Tuesday.

When play resumed at 5-4 in the second set, the American came out the better player, earning set points at 6-5 all of which were saved by Ward.

With the momentum behind Smyczek, the world number 72 took control in the tiebreaker winning four straight points to seal it 7-3.

With the second set sealed, the American applied more pressure on the Brit which proved to be too much. Smyczek broke the Ward serve three times in the third set, including at 5-1 to seal the match.

After an excellent first set yesterday, this is a disappointing loss for Ward especially considering his first round exit in Queens. Just like on that occasion, the Brit started well but faded as the match went on- worrying signs heading in to Wimbledon.

With Ward’s exit, all British hopes rested on Bedene who faced eighth seeded Adrian Mannarino in his second round match.

With the Frenchman showing good fork this year, it was expected to be a tough task for the Slovenian born Brit. In the end, the 25 year old circumed to the higher ranked player 7-6(4), 6-4.

In the opening set, Bedene was the only one to carve out a break point, but unfortunately he could not convert. Aside from that, both players held comfortably which meant only one thing; a tiebreak.

This was where the Frenchman took control, winning the first four points of the breaker. Despite getting both mini breaks back, Bedene lost serve twice in a row at the end of the tiebreak, resulting in a 7-4 loss for the Brit.

Expectedly, Mannarino used his momentum to earn a break at the start of the second set. Bedene did not give up the fight as he managed to break back and level the set only a few games later.

Sensing a possible shift in momentum, the eighth seed upped his game yet again to re-establish his lead the following game.

From there it was plain sailing for Mannarino who faced no further threat on serve. The Frenchman easily served it out to end all British hopes of a deep Nottingham run.

With Bedene’s exit, all three British representatives will be heading to Wimbledon a little earlier than they would have liked. Ward in particular will be disappointed with his result, whilst Edmund would rue missed chances against Malek Jaziri.

Bedene fell to a player ranked 40 places ahead of him, so he can still hold his head high after a good performance in round one.

The trio will now head to Wimbledon next week where they will hope for better results. You can follow their progress at SW19 on Britwatchsports.com.