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19 - 27 May 2018

Loughborough Trophy

Loughborough Sport Tennis Centre

Loughborough Trophy: Ward advances to last-four; Bambridge and O’Mara into final

  • Challenger Tour logo
  • 25/05/2018

  • Major Events

It was a fantastic Friday for the Brits at the Loughborough Trophy ATP Challenger, with James Ward advancing to the semi-finals while locals Luke Bambridge and Jonny O’Mara cruised through to the doubles final.

Ward came through a dramatic match against Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili, winning the first set 7-5 and looking strong in the second before Gabashvili retired mid-service game at 4-5.

Earlier in the set, Gabashvili called for the physio and appeared to struggle with an elbow injury. The disruption in play continued, however, when Gabashvili challenged numerous line calls and repeatedly approached the umpire’s chair.

“I haven’t been in a match like that [before]. He was causing all sorts of problems and trying to break up the play and stoppages and all sorts,” said Ward post-match.

“It’s not great to be a part of, [but] you’ve got to stay focused and you’ve got to do your job. As I said, I did my job, I stayed focused, I served well again today and that’s the key for me.”

Ward, who received a wildcard to the tournament and fired down 12 aces against Gabashvili, added: “I’ve won three matches this week so I’m happy with that, hopefully we can carry on and keep pushing on.”

The Londoner will play Austrian Maximilian Neuchrist, who won a two hour and five minute epic against fellow countryman and qualifier Jurij Rodionov: 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-3.

In the doubles, Bambridge and O’Mara were too strong for Bradley Mousley (AUS) and Tim Puetz (GER), putting them away 6-4, 6-2.

“I’m really looking forward to the final on Sunday,” said Bambridge, who lives in the town of Plumtree just 20 minutes outside of Loughborough. “For me it’s a very special moment to play a final here – thinking back to when I was putting in hours of work in when I was just 12 or 13 years old – so I’m really looking forward to that.”

A win in Sunday’s final means Bambridge can expect his doubles ranking to settle inside the top 100 for the first time in his career.

Sunday’s final will be the second ATP Challenger doubles final for O’Mara in as many weeks after the Scot’s Glasgow Trophy result.

“I’m playing good tennis. It’s great that there are two Challengers in Britain and I’ve made the most of them so far, making a final in Glasgow and now a final here,” said O’Mara.

“The crowd in Glasgow was unbelievable and hopefully on Sunday it’s going to be exactly the same. It was my home tournament in Glasgow and now it’s Luke’s home tournament here, so hopefully the crowd is just as good,” he added.

The third seeds will play the winner of Saturday’s semi-final, in which Britain’s Joe Salisbury and Denmark’s Frederick Nielsen face American duo Robert Galloway and Nathaniel Lammons (USA).

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