Ward through to Shanghai Masters

James WardBritish number two James Ward (10/3 to win his first round match) has beaten Viktor Troicki to qualify for next week’s Shanghai Masters event.

The London-born ace has had an impressive 2014, moving up to a career high 117th in the ATP world rankings and qualifying for three masters events, adding Shanghai to his appearances at Indian Wells and Cincinnati.

Despite this form, the 27-year-old was considered an underdog going into his final qualifying match with Serbian Troicki.

The former world number 12 is on the comeback trail following a year-long ban for failing to provide a blood sample at the Monte Carlo Masters last year and the 28-year-old is currently struggling down at 152nd in the latest ATP rankings.

Ward however was in imperious form, claiming the only break of the first set to win it 6-4 before demolishing his opponent 6-1 in the second, with three breaks of serve coming the British player’s way.

The Davis Cup star’s now takes on world number 16 Kevin Anderson (1/5 fav in the match betting) in the first round in Shanghai with the experienced South African likely to pose a sterner test to the plucky Brit.

Anderson goes into the match in indifferent form following a defeat in the second round of this week’s Japan Open, losing to Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, who is ranked 19 places below him in the standings.

Fellow Brit Andy Murray will also be in action in Shanghai with the Scot taking on Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili in a match that is not expected to trouble the two-time major winner (Murray 1/14, Gabashvili Match Betting).

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