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Summary

  1. James Ward loses to 31st seed Verdasco
  2. Ill Heather Watson beaten in first round
  3. Pironkova 6-4 6-0 Watson
  4. GB's Edmund loses 4-6 4-6 3-6 to American Steve Johnson

Live Reporting

By Jonathan Jurejko

All times stated are UK

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And then there was one. Andy Murray is the sole British representative left in the Australian Open singles' draws - thankfully he is used to that sort of burden. Rejoin us in the early hours of Wednesday to find out if he can push past Australia's Marinko Matosevic and reach the third round. Bonza.

Game, set and match - Ward out

Ward 6-2 0-6 6-7 (6-8) 3-6 Verdasco

Piers Newbery

BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

"Ward has a point to take the game and force Verdasco to serve it out but the Spaniard reels off three points in a row to avoid that pressure, and obligingly pats his strings in applause to the crowd as he waits to shake hands. The crowd shuffle off quickly in search of drama elsewhere and Ward is left to pack away his natty clothing and racquets. Britain 0-3 Rest of the World."

Ward* 6-2 0-6 6-7 (6-8) 3-5 Verdasco

Another break point for Ward, another service winner from Verdasco. The Spaniard is showing the class of a seeded player at the moment and the time is running out for British hopes on day two.

Being ill sucks - Watson

Heather Watson
Getty Images

British number one Heather Watson probably just wants to flake out on the sofa after her first-round exit. The 22-year-old struggled physically and called for the doctor during

her 6-3 6-0 defeat by Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova.

But first she has met the media in a post-match news conference. "Yesterday I woke up not feeling that great, just kind of bloated and weak and not that good, and I feel like that today," she says.

"I just struggled on the court to have energy. Against any player it's tough enough when you're fit, let alone when you're not. It's a real shame and it sucks."

Ward* 6-2 0-6 6-7 (6-8) 2-4 Verdasco

Fernando Verdasco, the number 31 seed, is edging to joining Wawrinka in the next round. British number two James Ward holds comfortably enough and then has Verdasco under pressure at 30-30, but the Spaniard again serves his way out of trouble. It's becoming a habit.

Glad to be back - Wawrinka

Earlier (see 03:38), we told about defending champion Stan Wawrinka's safe passage into the slightly choppier waters of round two. Here's what he said afterwards:

"It was great to be back on Rod Laver Arena again, it brings back so many memories from last year," says the Swiss, who won his first Slam at the same venue 12 months ago,

"It was such an amazing two weeks last year so it was great to come back here and I am pleased with my game in general and I'm excited to start again.

Ward* 6-2 0-6 6-7 (6-8) 1-3 Verdasco

Verdasco throws in a double fault but he's already 40-0 up and the Spaniard finishes the job with a forehand into the corner, which opens up the court for another into the opposite side. Textbook Verdasco.

Ward 6-2 0-6 6-7 (6-8) 1-2 Verdasco*

Is there any way back for Ward? Not if he continues to trade holds with the Spaniard.

Ward 6-2 0-6 6-7 (6-8) 0-1 Verdasco*

Fernando Verdasco
Getty Images

Oh dear. It's understandable after losing a set in which he led by a break and had a set point, but a forlorn looking Ward thumps a forehand long to give Verdasco the break at the start of the fourth.

Ward loses third set

Ward* 6-2 0-6 6-7 (6-8) Verdasco

Piers Newbery

BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

"As tense and as tight as a Grand Slam match can be, Ward gets another break to move 5-4 up. Two serves for the set… but he nets a poor forehand for 5-5. An epic, epic rally follows with Verdasco hammering away at the forehand and Ward scrabbling to stay alive until the court opens up and he smacks a backhand winner.

"Set point for the Briton…. big serve from Verdasco. And then an ace! Set point for Verdasco now… and a big forehand proves too much for Ward to handle. That one got away from the British number two."

Ward loses third set

Ward 6-2 0-6 6-7 (6-8) Verdasco

James Ward will be crossing his fingers that this match goes to five sets, because if doesn't then he's on the next plane back to Blighty....

Ward makes a terrific start, breaking on the first point and then making it 3-0 with a couple of heavy serves. A half-chance goes begging, however, when he frames a backhand as Verdasco cuts the deficit to 3-2 and then levels with a big forehand for 3-3.

Ward* 6-2 0-6 6-6 Verdasco

Tension mounts on court seven as James Ward and opponent Fernando Verdasco prepare to start their third-set tie-break. The clock ticks past the 60-minute mark for this set - and we could be here for a long while yet if this goes all the way...

Ward* 6-2 0-6 6-6 Verdasco

James Ward
Getty Images

The pressure is once again on James Ward. The British number two serves to force the tie-break but he comes through impressively with a hold to 15, firing a forehand down the line on game point. Fair to say this tie-break will be pretty crucial....

Ward* 6-2 0-6 4-4 Verdasco

Piers Newbery

BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

"Yikes. Ward drags an agricultural forehand into the tramlines to fall 0-30 behind and Verdasco sweeps into the net to angle away a backhand volley for 15-40. Ward fires long on the second break point and we're all square."

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Djokovic rips the plastic wrapping off his new racquet with the excitement of a kid about to find out they've been given a new games console for Christmas.

The Serb knocks up with his first-round opponent, who is Slovenian qualifier Aljaz Bedene. His Aussie Open record? Played two, lost two. I don't fancy his chances of ending that unwanted 100% record against the four-time champ.

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Wawrinka
Getty Images

Here's one of the least surprising pieces of Australian Open news tonight. World number four Stan Wawrinka begins his men's singles title defence with a comprehensive 6-1 6-4 6-2 win over Turkey's Marsel Ilhan in the Rod Laver Arena.

There's no way the Swiss wants to shift the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup off his mantelpiece. Next up on the show court? A chap called Novak Djokovic.

Ward* 6-2 0-6 4-3 Verdasco

Ward arrows a serve down the 'T' to maintain his two-game advantage and then sets about attacking the Verdasco serve. A swinging backhand winner takes the Briton to 0-30, but Verdasco hits back with a thumping forehand down the line on his way to the game.

Edmund pleased with progress

Edmund 4-6 4-6 3-6 Johnson

Edmund
AP

Great Britain's Kyle Edmund has just faced the press following

his straight-sets defeat by world number 38 Steve Johnson.

"I really struggled to get on his serve today, especially towards the end of the second and the third sets," said the 20-year-old Yorkshireman.

"There wasn't a lot of rhythm due to the fact that he was serving really well. It's just something I have to take away and work on and use as a stepping stone to get better.

"To qualify, win three matches and play my first round is a good experience. Looking back on it, it's still been a good week."

Ward* 6-2 0-6 3-2 Verdasco

Spain's Verdasco mops his relieved brow as he wriggles out of another tight spot in the fifth. Ward pins him back, probing for a chink in his armour, with the possibility of a second break looming large over the Spaniard. However, he survives and keeps Ward within one.

Ward 6-2 0-6 3-1 Verdasco*

Verdasco's serve cannot be broken in the third game, then he he has an opportunity to break back. But the Spaniard blows his chance, as Ward scampers back to maintain his two-game lead.

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Wawrinka
AP

Over in the Rod Laver Arena, defending champion Stan Wawrinka is cruising towards his intended destination - round two. The Swiss star is leading 6-1 6-4 4-1 against Marsel Ilhan of Turkey.

Ward 6-2 0-6 2-0 Verdasco*

So far it appears to be 'First Set James Ward' on court seven. The British number two holds off the snappy Spaniard to hold his first service game of the third set.

Ward* 6-2 0-6 1-0 Verdasco

So which James Ward are we going to see in the third set? First-set James Ward or second-set James Ward?

Whichever one it is, they have opted for a change of shirt - a floral number provided by his new kit sponsor, a name previously more familiar with high street shoppers than athletes. And the British Davis and Fed Cup teams.

Verdasco saves a break point with an ace but then loses a lengthy rally and has a bit of a chip at the umpire about spectators talking during the point. The Spaniard then dumps a forehand in the net, and the sizeable British contingent in the crowd perk up considerably.

Ward 6-2 0-6 Verdasco

Dominic Inglot

British doubles player on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

"That was a terrible set for James Ward, let's be honest. But it is one set all. He's not behind, he's even.

"He can take a time out, go to the toilet, have time to think, maybe knock your opponent out of his stride a bit. He's got to start again."

Ward loses second set

Ward 6-2 0-6 Verdasco

Verdasco can't wait to get this set wrapped up. Ward can't wait for it to be over. Then, as soon as the Spaniard does that, Ward takes a time out and legs it to the gents. Spoiling tactics rather than a bursting bladder, one would suggest.

Ward* 6-2 0-5 Verdasco

Piers Newbery

BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

"In a complete reversal of the first set, Verdasco gets the double-break as his booming forehand has Ward examine the outer limits of court seven. The Londoner spent part of his off-season at Andy Murray's infamously gruelling training camp in Florida and he might need everything that put in his legs if this goes long. Another of those cross-court backhands gives him a bit of hope in game five but Verdasco slams the door shut."

Ward* 6-2 0-5 Verdasco

Block it out, James, block it out. After looking like a top 10 player in the first set, Ward is scampering around like a man outside the top 200 in the second. So that is probably why he averages out at around the 100 mark. Verdasco is easing through the gears, becoming more aggressive as this set draws to a conclusion.

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* Upset alert *

Italy's Fabio Fognini is the third top-20 player in the men's singles to be looking at flights home. The number 16 seed is beaten in four sets - 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-4 - by Alejandro Gonzalez of Colombia.

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Aaron Nicholson: This was worth staying up for. Please James keep it up, otherwise my sleep deprivation is for nothing.

Ward 6-2 0-2 Verdasco*

Dominic Inglot

British doubles player on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

"Verdasco is starting to hit that forehand much better now. He held his serve and is back in the lead - that first set doesn't really matter any more. Momentum is in his favour - even though he is a set down."

Ward 6-2 0-2 Verdasco*

Failure to take those breaks in the previous game must have just lingered on the mind of Ward. The British number two can't find his rhythm in the second and loses his serve to put the Spaniard, who cracks the winner with a fizzing backhand, in command. Momentum shift perhaps?

Ward* 6-2 0-1 Verdasco

Verdasco grabs himself by the scruff of the neck and lifts himself off the hook. Ward pins him back on the ropes, earning three break points but the Briton can't convert any of them. Huge sigh of relief from the Spaniard.

Ward 6-2 0-0 Verdasco*

Fernando Verdasco can be a combustible character - and he looks ready to explode. The Spaniard angrily mutters something as he returns to the baseline for the start of the second set. His turn to serve.

Ward 6-2 Verdasco

David Law

BBC Radio 5 live sports extra commentator

"I'm certain that isn't James Ward out there. James Ward is a good player but this bloke out there is playing like a top 10 player. This is the best tennis I have seen him play."

Ward wins first set

Ward 6-2 Verdasco

Sensational scenes. James Ward could be forgiven for strutting off Court 7 with a swagger and cheeky grin. The British number two takes the opening set in 37 minutes against former semi-finalist Fernando Verdasco.

Ward pulls a beauty deep into the corner on set point and Verdasco can only send his response long. But he knows there is still plenty of work ahead if he is to join hitting partner Andy Murray in the next round. Experienced Spaniard Verdasco looks shell-shocked.

Ward* 5-2 Verdasco

Piers Newbery

BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

"Enormous name-drop alert but…. Andy Murray told me last year that Ward's cross-court backhand is "world class" and it certainly looks that way when he absolutely leathers one for a clean winner at 5-1 up. Verdasco is not a happy man but keeps himself in the set with an ace."

Ward* 4-1 Verdasco

David Law

BBC Radio 5 live sports extra commentator

"This is the best tennis I have seen James Ward play!"

Ward 4-0 Verdasco*

Easy stuff this Grand Slam lark, isn't it? James Ward holds serve to go 4-0 ahead. Fernando Verdasco doesn't know what day it is at the moment.

Game, set and match - Edmund out

Edmund 4-6 4-6 3-6 Johnson

Kyle Edmund
Reuters

That's it for Great Britain's Kyle Edmund, his Australian Open is over for this year as he goes down in regulation fashion to world number 38 Steve Johnson. The American finishes with 49 winners to Edmund's 22 and better stats across the board. It's a useful marker for where Edmund must go to continue his rise up the rankings, and three qualifying wins is not too shabby for a 20-year-old these days.

Ward* 3-0 Verdasco

Piers Newbery

BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

"Verdasco has not exactly been tearing up the tour in recent times but even so, it's a very loose start from the man who once extended Rafael Nadal to a five-hour semi-final in Melbourne. He opens the door for Ward and the British number two snaffles the chance to get the double break."