Alexander Ward is on the verge of a first career ATP Challenger Final out in Bangkok, Thailand this week, despite the event not taking place on his preferred clay court surface, after a straight sets victory over Swiss Adrien Bossel before a quarter-final victory over seventh seed Ze Zhang of China.
BRILLIANT to see @AlexWard1990 into the Bangkok Challenger SF and on the cusp of the ATP top 250, provisionally 253rd!
— Chris Goldsmith (@TheTennisTalker) May 20, 2016
— Ed Corrie (@edcorrie7) May 18, 2016
The quarter-final result earlier today means the Brit has taken out two seeds so far this tournament, and will not need to beat another one after his opponent was confirmed as unseeded Irishman Sam Barry, who lost the pair’s previous encounter back in 2010.
Britain had three players in the second round, but Irishman Barry improved his head-to-head record against Liam Broady to 3-0 with a 6-4 6-0 win over the 22-year-old from Manchester. Elsewhere, though, Lloyd Glasspool came through after being on the cusp of victory against Lukas Lacko of Slovakia, leading 7-6(5) 4-1 before the fourth seed retired to grant Glasspool a Challenger quarter-final slot – also a career first for him.
But it’s Ward who has lit up the tournament this week in terms of the British interest, after Glasspool was beaten 6-2 6-2 by sixth seeded American Alex Sarkissian. Meanwhile, Ward won 6-4 1-6 7-5 against top-200 Chinese player Ze Zhang, serving 12 aces and securing his ninth (out of eleven) three-set victory of the year.
If Ward progresses no further in the tournament, he will rise to within touching distance of the top 250 – a huge new career high which will surely make the Wimbledon wildcard selectors sit up and take notice. Meanwhile, Glasspool will also rise to a new career high, and the University of Texas graduate is also a decent bet for at least a qualifying wildcard for the grass court Slam next month.