Aegon Championships: James Ward and Dan Evans advance, Paul Henri-Mathieu first up for Andy Murray
Last Updated: 09/06/14 6:14pm
James Ward saw off Blaz Rola for the second time in three weeks to set up a second-round tie with No 4 seed Grigor Dimitrov in the Aegon Championships at Queen's Club.
Ward became the first British man in more than 40 years to reach the French Open's first round proper through qualifying when slugging past Slovenian Rola in a gruelling 12-10 final set on May 23.
The 27-year-old Londoner beat Rola in straight sets 7-5 6-4 in Kensington on Monday to tee up a showdown with Bulgarian world No 13 Dimitrov.
"It would be an upset if you look at the rankings no doubt," British No 3 Ward, who reached the semi-finals of this event in 2011, said about his prospects of beating Dimitrov.
"Probably this would be the best surface for me to face him on. We practised last week though and we know each other pretty well anyway, so I think it will be a good match.
"That was a one-off result to get to the semi-finals when I did, as to how I played in that week and you can't do that every week.
"But I think I'm playing a lot better, I've been far more consistent, I went well at the French and with these opportunities for the next few weeks hopefully I can keep moving forward."
British No 2 Dan Evans also made it through, shrugging off an 88-place world ranking disadvantage to defeat Jurgen Melzer.
Evans fired an ace to win the final-set tie-break and edge past Austrian Melzer 6-3 6-7 (5/7) 7-6 (7/2).
Vienna-born Melzer is currently ranked 51st in the world, with a career-high of eighth, with Evans at 139.
The 24-year-old from Birmingham will now face seventh-seed South African Kevin Anderson in the second round.
Paul-Henri Mathieu's 7-6 6-4 win over Aljaz Bedene earned the Frenchman a second-round date with British No 1 and defending champion Andy Murray.
Lincoln's Daniel Cox failed to make it a hat-trick of British winners as he slipped to a straight-sets defeat to Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in the first round.
Mannarino, ranked 83 in the world, showed the gulf in class with Cox down at 214 in the ATP standings, winning 7-5 6-2.