BRITISH interest at the Eastbourne singles ended on Wednesday when Jamie Ward lost a deciding set shoot-out to Serbian third seed Janko Tipsarevic.
The British number two, who reached the semi-finals at Queens last week fought back from a set down on Tuesday but bad light ruined Wards momentum.
Ward was unable to reach the heights that saw him compete with the best Queens and he went down 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.
As played resumed on Wednesday the world number 176 had to fend off four break points on his first service game. His opponent eventually broke at the fifth attempt and Ward was fighting an uphill battle form that point.
The Serbian virtually killed the contest with a second break.
Ward said, “The top 100 is my goal this year and there is no reason why I can’t achieve that.
“I played a top player here and lost a tight match in three sets.
“I want winnable games at Wimbledon. I want to improve my ranking, not get Rafa (Nadal), Roger (Federer) or Andy (Murray) but if it comes to that then I’ll just have to deal with it.
“I have got a lot of new self belief and I want to be as good as Andy, why not?
“Everyone would like to be. He’s a top player and I am ambitious.”
There was also disappointment for British wild cards Dan Evans and Colin Fleming.
Evans was beaten in three sets by 20-year-old Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, going down 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4, and Fleming, usually a doubles specialist, lost out 6-3, 6-4 to world number 57 Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic on Tuesday.