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Ward comes back to win Men’s Singles title against Duckworth

Great Britain’s James Ward did what he could not do in 2011 when he made it to the finals of the Fifth Third Bank Tennis Championships. He won.

Ward took down opponent James Duckworth in three sets. The 21-year-old Australian came out on the court with a game plan that must have included big serves and giving Ward as little to work with as possible. Duckworth kept Ward off balance most of the first set, starting off by breaking him in the first game and going on to take the first set 6-4.

After mangling his racket with a few heavy thumps on the court, the 26-year-old Ward began to get it together. He broke Duckworth at 2-1 after going to deuce to take the lead 3-1 and then held serve. The next three games the two men held each other to love, giving Ward a 5-3 lead before he held serve once more to take the set 6-3.

The two men seemed to change roles as Ward became the aggressor in the second set and played that part through the third set to win the match 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Ward, the No. 2 player in Great Britain after Andy Murray, said after the match that Duckworth came out with a strategy that required Ward to adjust and to overcome his frustration.

“And I stopped making so many mistakes,” said Ward, who last year lost to American Mardy Fish in an epic four-hour, five-set match in the second round of Wimbledon.

Duckworth, whose grandmother Beryl Penrose won the singles and doubles title in the 1955 Australian Open, said he couldn’t sustain his level of play in the second set. “I gave him a lot of looks at my second serve, and he started playing better,” he said.

With the passage of a few days, Duckworth said he’d be able to look back on the tournament and appreciate his improvement over last year when he lost a close one in the quarterfinals.

“Right now I’m just disappointed,” he said.