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James Ward's short-lived optimism about his game could have come to an end already and it does not look too likely he will make it into the US Open.

The 23-year-old is ranked outside the world's top 200 and way down the British rankings but performed admirably in the recent Davis Cup win over Turkey – where he overcame a man ranked 200 places above him.

This followed him reaching the quarter-finals of the AEGON International in Eastbourne and then picking up a Futures title in Manchester.

Ward has been very optimistic about his future and was expecting to improve as a singles player in order to get into bigger ATP tour events and even grand slams.

He is a pacey player with a lot of energy who has the ability to grind down opponents, but it seems none of that helped him in the Atlanta Tennis Championships as he went out 6-1, 6-2 to Mardy Fish in round one.

Ward was given a wildcard for the tournament but barely even had time to relax, and this could have affected his chances of making it through US Open qualifying. The tennis betting odds reflect this.

He is running out of tournaments leading up to that, and he had previously stated he hoped these weeks in the US would be "good ones" – but it does not look like it is working out that way.

Only a few weeks ago Baker said: "I'm not going to put any pressure on myself but I think within the next year and a half I can be knocking on the door of being a top 100 player."

His previous highest world ranking was 187 set almost 12 months ago and it will be hard for Ward to make an impression in ATP tour events, with the qualifying for the US Open likely to be highly intense also. The US Open betting suggests he faces a very tough time.

Ward will need to step up in the coming months to show if he ever really can be good enough to break into that world's top 100.
 
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