Baker, Ward stay on course

  • Last Updated: January 11 2013, 8:08 GMT

Britons Jamie Baker and James Ward both moved within one win of a place in the main draw of the Australian Open on Friday.

Jamie Baker: Edging closer
Jamie Baker: Edging closer

Scotland's Baker secured a hard-fought victory over Italian Matteo Viola.

Baker, 26, dropped the opening set but hit back to claim an excellent 3-6 6-2 6-4 triumph in two hours and five minutes.

Viola, seeded 19th in qualifying, won the opening set thanks to a solitary break in the eighth game but two breaks from Baker, the second coming courtesy of a double fault, saw him level matters.

The Glaswegian then surged into a 4-1 lead in the decider and although Viola hit back to level at 4-4, Baker dug deep to hold and then break to set up a tough-looking clash with American Donald Young.

Young beat former top-10 player James Blake in straight sets.

Ward also claimed a gutsy win over German Mischa Zverev.

Zverev claimed the opening set on a tie-break only for Ward to hit back to level.

The 25-year-old Londoner then ran through the decider, breaking early as Zverev struggled with a back injury, to win 6-7 (1/7) 6-4 6-4.

Ward will now meet Germany's Julian Reister as he bids to make the main draw in Melbourne for the second time.

He managed it 12 months ago only to lose in the first round to Blaz Kavcic.

There was disappointment, however, for Johanna Konta.

Sydney-born Konta, who competes for Great Britain after receiving citizenship in May last year, lost a three-set battle with China's Zhou Yi-Miao in the second round of women's qualifying.

World number 153 Konta responded well after dropping the opening set but could not find a way to win the decider.

Although she hit back from a 5-3 deficit to get it back on serve, she was broken at the death to go down 7-5 2-6 8-6.

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