Davis Cup: James Ward shocks marathon man Isner in epic

James Ward finds the energy to celebrate. He was roard on by Andy Murray and his brother, Jamie

James Ward finds the energy to celebrate. He was roard on by Andy Murray and his brother, Jamie

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A stunning comeback from James Ward put Great Britain 2-0 up against the United States following a marathon first day of Davis Cup action in Glasgow.

Ward was two sets down against John Isner but was always close to the American No.1 and he dug out a sensational fightback to win 6-7 (4/7), 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (7/3), 15-13 in four hours and 52 minutes.

Isner, the man who triumphed in the longest tennis match in history, saved five match points but Ward prevailed after the world No. 20 hit a backhand into the net from close range.

Isner prevailed 70-68 against Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon in 2010, a match that lasted 11 hours and five minutes.

Great Britain coach Leon Smith said: “It was just amazing. James kept fighting and at key moments he played big.”

Ward and Isner were evenly matched throughout and the Briton had been 4-2 up in the first-set tie-break, but his opponent got a stroke of fortune with a net shot and never looked back. He edged further ahead after finally breaking in the 11th game of the second set when Ward was wide with a backhand, finishing the set off with a trademark power serve.

The third set started in a similar fashion with serves being held but Ward brought the house down with two cross-court shots to break in the sixth game, before going on to seal the set with an ace.

The pair remained neck and neck throughout the fourth set but Ward, who is ranked 111 in the world, quickly took control of the tie-break and won 7-3.

Andy Murray had earlier thrilled his home crowd with a lightning start to the World Group first-round encounter, taking the first two sets inside 46 minutes against Donald Young. The American fought back but Murray ultimately cruised home 6-1, 6-1, 4-6, 6-2.

Murray admitted he had been charged up by the atmosphere in front of more than 7,500 fans.

The world No. 5 dropped just one point in the opening two games and Young struggled to return throughout the first two sets. The American did not even register a point during four consecutive games that spanned the first and second sets, but he rediscovered some resilience at the start of the third set, hanging on to his serve during a series of rallies.

The underdog continued to struggle on Murray’s serve until the tenth game, when two long forehands from the Scot handed Young the set.

The world No. 47 looked a different player as he buzzed around the indoor court but Murray’s class told.

He said: “He didn’t start the match well but I made one unforced error in the first two sets. So, I can’t say it was down to his bad play why I was in that position. I’m going to praise myself today.

“One unforced error in two sets is going to get you a 6-1, 6-1 lead. If he was intimidated, I think I also played my part in doing that.”