James Ward comeback gives Britain 2-0 Davis Cup lead over US

By Piers NewberyBBC Sport, in Glasgow
James Ward & Leon Smith
GB captain Leon Smith described James Ward's performance as "gutsy"
Davis Cup: Great Britain v United States
Venue: Emirates Arena, Glasgow Dates: 6-8 March
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, Red Button, the BBC Sport website, mobile, the BBC Sport app and Connected TV.

James Ward produced a stunning comeback to beat John Isner 15-13 in the fifth set and give Great Britain a 2-0 Davis Cup lead over the United States.

Ward, the world number 111, recovered from two sets down to win 6-7 (5-7) 5-7 6-3 7-6 (7-3) 15-13 in Glasgow.

The Englishman needed six match points before finally seeing off the world number 20 after almost five hours.

Andy Murray, playing his first match in Scotland for four years, had earlier beaten Donald Young 6-1 6-1 4-6 6-2.

Davis Cup 2015: Great Britain's James Ward beats John Isner

The best-of-five tie continues with Saturday's doubles, before the reverse singles on Sunday.

"It's really tough for the USA now at two matches down," said GB captain Leon Smith.

"But they have Jim Courier as captain and he will not let them go down without a fight."

There is now every prospect of Britain repeating last year's win over the US at the same stage, after Ward again produced an upset in the second singles match.

Last year it was Sam Querrey in four sets - this time the Londoner came through a 111-minute final set to see off Isner and claim the win of his life.

Andy Murray on Twitter
Andy Murray reacted to James Ward's win on Twitter

And if Murray had been expected to dominate proceedings on his return home, the opening day ended with Ward acclaimed by the 7,700 spectators at the Emirates Arena.

"This is by far the best atmosphere I've ever been involved in and thank you very much to all the crowd," said Ward.

James Ward David Cup
James Ward regained a foothold in the match with some fine passing shots

"It was difficult. I had a lot of chances in the last set. It was an unbelievable match."

A downcast Isner admitted: "It's brutal. I'm barely going to sleep tonight, it's awful.

"I'm healthy. Mentally I'm certainly a bit shaken right now but I've got to be a professional and bring my best on Sunday. I don't feel too chipper right now but I'll let it rip on Sunday if that match is live."

James Ward Davis Cup
Ward was generous in his praise for the Glasgow crowd

Isner looked in control after taking the opening tie-break and breaking serve for the first time in the match on his way to a two-set lead.

Ward has been in the best form of his career over the last 12 months, however, and backed up by a gruelling off-season training block with Murray, he dug in and worked his way back into the contest.

Two terrific passes helped him finally break the Isner serve in the third set and the Briton levelled in a tie-break as the momentum swung steadily in his favour.

Ward dominated the decider, earning a break point and then five match points, only for the 6ft 10in Isner to keep him at bay with his huge serve.

BBC Tennis Correspondent Russell Fuller
"In San Diego last year, Ward produced a devastating late burst to see off Sam Querrey. Here in Glasgow, against a regular member of the world's top 20, he played with stunning consistency to again give Britain the perfect platform. Even when two break points down at 11-all in the deciding set, Ward continued to play with fluency and conviction to leave Jim Courier wondering how he has never cracked the world's top 100. Will we see the Murray brothers in Saturday's doubles? Andy could be rested, but I suspect he would love to try and get the job done with 24 hours to spare."

With no tie-break in the deciding set, the games ticked by, prompting memories of Isner's 11-hour marathon against Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon 2010.

Ward had his own moment of danger at 11-11 but saved two break points, the second in a long and desperately tense rally, but for the most part he looked the more likely winner.

DAVIS CUP 2015: Britain's Andy Murray victorious over USA

It took until the 28th game of a gripping final set but there was no escape when Isner slipped 0-40 down, and he netted a volley to spark wild celebrations among the British squad.

Ward shared a long hug with Murray, who had been dispensing advice via Smith from the sidelines throughout.

The Scot had earlier seen off Young with a fine display in front of his home crowd, who gave him a rousing reception.

"It was very nice," said the Scot. "I used the energy and emotion very well at the beginning of the match. I would say I played extremely well.

"I'm going to praise myself today - I hit one unforced error in two sets."