Northants’ number one Alex Ward has tipped French starlet Quentin Halys for the top after narrowly edging past the 18 year-old in Sunderland last week.
Ward, intent on kick-starting 2015 in style after a three-month injury setback, reached the final of the Aegon GB Pro-Series event in Sunderland before losing 7-6 (10-8), 6-3 to Dan Cox.
The fifth seed reeled off four impressive victories to confirm he is back on track after testing his toe in the tournament water once more in Los Angles and Sheffield since the turn of the year.
Before tackling another Aegon event in Glasgow this week Ward was full of admiration for Halys who was runner-up in the Boys Singles at the US Open last September. He said: “I would put quite a bit of money on him making the top 100 in the world one day. He was ranked number two in the world for juniors last year and had beaten the number one seed at Sunderland.”
Ward defeated Halys 6-7, 6-4, 7-6 on Wearside and reached the final after a 6-2, 7-5 over another Frenchman Matthieu Roy in the semi-final.
Ward is currently ranked at 347 in the world and turning to his own recent history he said: “I hadn’t played a tournament since October before going to America early in the New Year after tearing ankle ligaments.”
This completed an injury marred 2014 triggered by a stress arm fracture but now it seems all the rehabilitation work and a two week training camp in Spain with British Davis Cup captain Leon Smith have helped do the trick.
Ward played back to back events in Los Angeles, performing well in the first week, making the quarter finals where he was beaten 7-6, 6-4 by American Jason Jung, who has a 290 world ranking.
Ward said: “I lost in the first round in the second week and was still jet lagged when I played at Sheffield where I was beaten 7-6, 7-6 by the French player Nicolas Rosenzweig.”
After this week’s tournament in Glasgow, Ward flies out to Marseilles for his next competition which starts on February 14.