Alexander Ward will be delighted with an excellent hard-court run to the semi-finals of the $50k + H ATP Challenger in Bangkok this week, but may be slightly disappointed with the result of yesterday’s semi-final against Irish qualifier Sam Barry, with the Brit going down 6-3 7-6(3) thanks to just one break of serve from five opportunities.
The Brit had come past the seventh seed and the third seed en route to the semis, but in-form Barry was ultimately too good for the clay-court specialist – although Ward will be rising to within the world’s top 250 on the back of this week’s rather surprising run through the draw.
Ward was on the wrong end of an excellent service game from the Irishman, with Barry serving 74% of first serves into play and winning 81% of the resulting points, leaving Ward very little room to manoeuvre on the return of serve. The Brit’s only real chance of finding a way through was in the second set tiebreak, but again Barry’s serve held out to clinch the set, and indeed the match, by winning the tiebreak to 3.
“Sorry it’s not a first Challenger final, but still, what a week! Hope they can all get some rest and preparation for grass, and hope that the next few weeks continue the positive momentum.” – Spectator, British Tennis Forums
As well as hitting a new career high, Ward’s result this week is his best points haul ever, with 33 valuable points being added to his tally. Having reached the last 16 of a $100k last week and already securing two $10k Futures titles this year, it seems 2016 might be the best yet for the 26-year-old.