Queen's Club: James Ward beaten by Milos Raonic fightback
Last updated on .From the section Tennis
|Venue: Queen's Club, London. Dates: 15-21 June.|
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Canadian third seed Milos Raonic recovered from a set down to beat Britain's James Ward in round one of the Aegon Championships.
Ward, ranked 109, served superbly early on but Raonic came through 5-7 6-3 6-2.
"It's tough on the body - I'm glad with the way I played and competed," said Raonic, playing his first tournament since foot surgery in May.
Four-time champion Lleyton Hewitt earlier lost to Kevin Anderson on his last appearance at Queen's Club.
The Australian had a match point in the second set but could not convert, and South Africa's Anderson came back to win 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 6-2.
Hewitt, 34, was making his 16th and final appearance at the west London club.
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"It was special to come back, knowing it was going to be the last one as well," said the wildcard, who plans to retire after the Australian Open in January.
"I have played so many big matches in front of big crowds here over the years with big names, quality players.
"For most of the first two sets I played pretty well out there."
Defending champion Grigor Dimitrov recovered from a break down in the second set to level at 4-6 6-3 against 2010 winner Sam Querrey, with the match to conclude on Tuesday.
Ward, 28, had appeared on course for one of the best wins of his career against Raonic as both men looked to overcome recent foot problems.
The Londoner made 81% of his first serves as he dominated the first set and then threatened to break early in the second.
However, Raonic held on and began to find his range, converting his first break point to lead 5-3 and going on to drop just two more games.
The Canadian, playing his first tournament since Madrid in April, goes on to face Frenchman Richard Gasquet in round two.
"It's past me," Raonic said of the trapped nerve in his foot. "I'm just trying to make the most of being back on court.
"James played great. The next match is going to be a very difficult one but I've got to get myself together and give it my all."
Ward said he took "a lot of positives" from the match, adding: "I played really well for the first set and a half, probably two sets.
"I maybe dropped off a little bit in the beginning of the third, which gave him a bit of extra confidence and he was serving well throughout."
Fernando Verdasco and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez also went through on Monday, with British number one Andy Murray in action on Tuesday, along with former champion Rafael Nadal and French Open winner Stan Wawrinka.