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James Ward to make his comeback in 2017

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Ward has been ranked inside the Top 100, and was once Britain’s No.2 player behind Andy Murray, but injuries over the last year have taken their toll (Zimbio.com)

Britain’s James Ward, part of the team that won the Davis Cup for Great Britain, is to make his tennis comeback in the near future. The thirty year-old has not played since September due to a number of factors, including a knee injury.

 

Ward, speaking with The Daily Mail, “I’ve had this knee problem for a long time and to be honest we still don’t know exactly what it is, it’s been getting a lot better and I should be ready by late March.

Ward has been working with the former head physio of Premier League football club Crystal Palace in an attempt to cure the knee problem instead of looking for a coach.

The Briton is currently without a coach, after his former coach Darren Tandy was tragically diagnosed with cancer, and then passed away before Christmas.

As well as the Davis Cup successes, where he has singles wins against the likes of John Isner and Sam Querrey, Ward has also reached the third round of Wimbledon, and the semi-finals of the Queens Club tournament, defeating Stan Wawrinka in that run.

However, Ward, who’s career-high ranking sits at No.89,  is now ranked outside the Top 400, though he will be able to play nine tournaments with a protected ranking of somewhere in the Top 200 on account of his injury absence.

 

 

 

 

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Elina Svitolina reaches her first semifinal in six months in Strasbourg

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Number 2 seed and two-time Grand Slam champion Elina Svitolina secured her spot in her first semifinal in six months at the Internationaux in Strasbourg with a 6-4 6-3 win over two-time WTA title winner Jil Teichmann after 1 hour and 23 minutes. Svitolina came back from a break down in each set.

 

Teichmann earned an early break in the opening game of the match. The Swiss player was not able to convert tw points for 4-2 in the first set and dropped her serve. Teichmann did not convert two game points in the eighth game and Svitolina broke back to draw level to 3-3. Svitolina did not convert two break points in the eighth game, but she broke serve on her first set point. 

Svitolina won eight of the first 10 points of the second set to open up a 2-0 lead with an early break. Teichmann reeled off three consecutive games with two consecutive breaks to take a 3-2 lead. Teichmann did not convert another break point at 3-3 after three deuces. Svitolina converted her fourth break point in a four deuce game in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. 

“I was fighting to stay in and to get the win, and I think I got rewarded. That was really good today, because I don’t let the bad games change my mindset”, said Svitolina. 

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Casper Ruud cruises past Fabio Fognini to reach the quarter final in Hamburg

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Norway’s Casper Ruud beat Fabio Fognini 6-3 6-3 to reach the quarter final at the European Open in Hamburg. 

 

The first set went on serve until the eighth game, when Ruud got his first break at 30 to take a 5-3 lead, when Fognini made two consecutive forehand errors. 

Ruud won seven consecutive games from 3-3 in the opening set to build up a 6-3 4-0 lead in the second set with two consecutive breaks. 

Fognini pulled one break back on his third chance in the sixth game to claw his way back to 3-4. Ruud closed out the match 6-3 at deuce from 15-40 down in the ninth game, when Fognini hit his first double fault. 

Ruud reached his first Masters 1000 semifinal in Rome last week and improved his win-loss record this year to 19-8. The Norwegian rising star, who won the ATP 250 title in Buenos Aires, has reached his career-high of world number 30.  

Ruud set up a quarter final against this year’s Auckland winner and Delray Beach semifinalist Ugo Humbert, who beat Jiri Vesely 6-4 6-3. After a trade of breaks in the first two games, Humbert and Vesely held on their next service games until the 10th game, when Humbert converted his second break point at deuce to take a 6-4 lead after 50 minutes, when Vesely hit a backhand into the net. 

Humbert saved two break points in the first game of the second set and broke serve to open up a 2-0 lead with a crosscourt forehand winner. Humbert reeled off five games in a row  from 4-4 in the first set to build up a 6-4 3-0 lead. Vesely saved a break point in the sixth game before breaking back in the seventh game to claw his way back to 3-4. Humbert earned his third break to open up a 5-3 lead and served out the win at 15 to score his 15th win this year. 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas battles past Pablo Cuevas to reach the quarter final in Hamburg

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Stefanos Tsitsipas battled past Pablo Cuevas 7-5 6-4 in 1 hour and 31 minutes to secure his spot to set up a quarter final against Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic. 

 

Tsitsipas fended off four break points at 4-4 and a break point at 5-5 before sealing a hard-fought first set in the 12th game after 53 minutes when Cuevas hit a double fault. 

Both players went on serve until the 10th game, when Tsitsipas earned the break at love to win the second set 6-4. 

“I have a lot of respect for him. He is a very difficult opponent to face, particularly on this surface. Cuevas is a good friend and one of my idols growing up. It was a great match and I enjoyed it. There was a certain point in the match when I forgot I needed to win, as I was enjoying the game, the atmosphere, the crowd, I was playing with positive vibes and energy”, said Tsitsipas. 

Tsitsipas will face last year’s Monte-Carlo finalist Dusan Lajovic, who cruised past Karen Khachanov 6-1 6-2 in just 62 minutes. 

Lajovic earned the break in the fourth game of the opening set to take a 3-1 lead. The Serbian player broke for the second time in the sixth game to close out the first set, when Khachanov hit a forehand into the net. 

The second set started with five consecutive breaks. Lajovic earned his third break in the fifth game, as Khachanov hit a forehand wide on break point at 2-2. Lajovic sealed the second set with his fourth break to build up 5-2 with a crosscourt forehand winner and held serve at 15 with a forehand winner to seal his 13th win of the season. 

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