sport

British quartet suffer defeats

British hopefuls James Ward, Dan Evans, Dan Cox and Kyle Edmund were all eliminated on the first day of play at Wimbledon.

British No 3 Ward was dumped out after being beaten 6-2 6-2 6-1 by Mikhail Youzhny. The Russian veteran, who is seeded 17th for the championships, had far too much quality for the world No 154 on Court Three on Monday.

The defeat is the latest in a string of grass-court disappointments for the 27-year-old, who was eliminated at Queen's by eventual champion Grigor Dimitrov before losing to Donald Young at Eastbourne.

British interest in the men's draw took another hit when Cox also fell by the wayside after being beaten in four sets by Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.

Lincoln-born Cox did push the world No 42 to four sets but Chardy eventually came through to clinch a 6-2 7-6 (7-3) 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 success.

The 23-year-old edged a third-set tie-break to raise hopes of a come-from-behind victory but Chardy reasserted control in the fourth set and in the end was a relatively straightforward winner.

Edmund showed his competitive spirit when in the second set against Andreas Haider-Maurer but the Austrian eventually came through to claim a 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 win.

That last of the four to fall was Evans, the British No 2 being made to pay for a slow start as he was beaten 6-1 7-5 3-6 7-6 (7-5) by Andrey Kuznetsov.

"It's all rankings isn't it? I don't know what people expect," Evans, who like the other three received a wild-card entry into the event, said of the British disappointments.

"I didn't see Kyle's match but I saw Wardy's. It wasn't like he wasn't trying, he just got outclassed.

"It will probably be me who gets the abuse tomorrow because he (Kuznetsov) is quite close to my ranking. I tried 100 per cent. I did everything I could do, he was just better than me.

"I think all the people who got the wild cards deserve wild cards to be honest."