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James Ward out as experience trumps youth

James Ward sizes up a forehand stroke
by Kate Mason
Monday 23 June 2014

One of the most experienced players at SW19, No.17 seed Mikhail Youzhny was too strong for Britain's James Ward in a straight sets win.

The first British man on court at The Championships 2014 started well. World No. 154 Ward kept pace with Youzhny in the opening games, matching his powerful baseline strokes with many of his own. The 27-year-old’s double-handed backhand was in particularly fine form, allowing Ward take his second service game to love.

Yet an abrupt break from the Russian in the sixth game tilted the set in the more experienced player's favour. He took it 6-2. Ranked 138 places higher than his English opponent, Youzhny is the fourth most experienced Grand Slam competitor on the men’s tour, and it showed.

The second set was a repeat of the first. A Ward double fault handed Youzhny the sixth game. Then, at 5-2 down, Ward sent a routine forehand long to go two sets to love down.

Slow to return to court for the third and final set, again he opened well, sending a brutal forehand drive past Youzhny’s racket to claim the first point. The crowd cheered gratefully but could not lift their man.

Mikhail Youzhny goes through to the second round for his fifth consecutive year, 6-2, 6-2, 6-1.

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