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19 - 27 May 2018

Loughborough Trophy

Loughborough Sport Tennis Centre

Loughborough Trophy: Britain’s James Ward reaches singles final

  • Challenger Tour logo
  • 26/05/2018

  • Major Events

James Ward reached his first ATP Challenger final since 2015 with to a dominant victory over Austria’s Maximilian Neuchrist at the inaugural Loughborough Trophy.

In front of a loud and proud British crowd, and after years of injuries which have interrupted his career, Ward cruised past Neuchrist in just one hour and three minutes, winning 6-1, 6-4.

“I played really well, served really well throughout, kept making chances on his serve and kept building the pressure and that’s what counted in the end,” said the former British No.2.

Ward was awarded a wildcard entry to the tournament after persistent problems with his knee resulted in nine months on the sidelines in 2017. He plays eighth seed, Japan’s Hiroki Moriya, in the final on Sunday.

Moriya dug deep to defeat his compatriot Yosuke Watanuki: 7-6(8), 6-2 in the day’s first semi-final.

Twenty-year-old Watanuki displayed a never-give-up attitude, fighting back from 1-4 down in the first set to force a tie-break, but ultimately his spirit wasn’t enough to steal victory.

In the doubles, Britain’s Joe Salisbury and Denmark’s Frederik Nielsen will face Luke Bambridge and Jonny O’Mara in the final on Sunday.

Fourth seeds Salisbury and Nielsen knocked out American duo Robert Galloway and Nathaniel Lammons in an exciting match: 7-6(6), 7-6(5).

The tournament is the first time Nielsen has partnered with Salisbury, whose doubles ranking is no.86 in the world.

“Hopefully we’ll play some more [together] after this but I think we’ve gelled really well and our games suit each other,” Salisbury said.

On the pair’s next opponents, Salisbury added: “Obviously they’re playing great, they beat a really strong team yesterday, [and] they beat them quite comfortably, so we’ll have to be on top of our game but we know them pretty well. I’ve played with Luke before and played against Jonny a few times, so I think we’ll know how to handle it but we’ll just have to execute well.”


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