James Ward beats John Isner in Davis Cup classic to give GB 2-0 lead

06/03/2015

| Davis Cup

James Ward Davis Cup Shot of the Day

A magical five-set comeback from James Ward has put the Aegon GB Davis Cup Team in a commanding position over USA at the end of Day One at the Emirates Arena.

After Andy Murray had earlier beaten Donald Young, Ward recovered from two sets to love down to upset big-serving John Isner and ensure Leon Smith’s men need just one point from the remaining three rubbers to progress to another quarter-final.

Roared on by a packed out stadium, the British No.2 gave them a match they will never forget by prevailing on his sixth match point a 6-7(5), 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(3), 15-13 winner after four hours and 57 minutes.

James Ward and Andy Murray

Ward, who also memorably beat Sam Querrey in five sets at the same stage last year, had to do it the hard way as the 6ft 10inch American came out firing down aces left, right and centre.

A tight first set was settled on a tie break which Isner took by seven points to five with a helping hand from a lucky net cord.

After 11 straight service holds in the second set, Isner forced the advantage and Ward was left with a monumental task when a forehand drifted wide.

But he rose to the challenge and had the crowd on their feet with two world class passing shots to seal his first break of the match and go 4-2 up before calmly securing the set.

With the crowd willing him on and USA captain Jim Courier nervously pacing up and down his box, the Londoner upped his game even more to take the fourth set into a tie-break, which he won by seven points to three. 

Into a fifth we went and with Isner tiring, Ward was hitting winners off either side and had two match points at 5-4 up but the drama was nowhere near about to end.

Davis Cup team celebratreWith the record for the biggest ever World Group fifth set score looming, a battle of wills ensued with match points and break points saved on a frequent basis up until 14-13

Isner couldn't find his trademark aces and Ward raced into a 0-40 lead before sealing the win when his opponent missed a volley to spark jubilant scenes both on the court and in the stands. 

After the match, Ward said: “I honestly have no clue what to say. This is by far the best atmosphere I have ever been a part of and thank you so much.

“I think towards the end John started slowing his serve down but it isn’t just getting the ball back in, you still have to do something else as he has a big forehand.

James Ward by Getty Images

“It was difficult, I had a lot of chances, he didn’t have as many chances on my serve but it is tough to stay concentrated the whole time.

“The support has been unbelievable and it definitely helped today.” 

                               

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