Great Britain moved a step closer to returning to Europe/Africa Zone Group I after James Ward's thrilling five-set win over Malek Jaziri handed Leon Smith's team victory against Tunisia in their Group II tie.

21570 - Ward shows guts as Great Britain seal win

Ward, Britain's leading player in the absence of Andy Murray, showed he can handle the pressure by bouncing back from a set down to secure a hard-fought 3-6 6-3 3-6 6-3 8-6 triumph at Bolton Arena.

Despite being ranked 111 places below his opponent, Tunisian No. 1 Jaziri had displayed his capabilities when he beat Jamie Baker on Friday and he showed his battling qualities once more as he pushed Ward all the way in an enthralling contest.

Ward was rattled early on as Jaziri took the opening set but he regained parity to give the partisan crowd something to shout about. The pair traded sets as the match went into a decider, with Ward fighting from a break down to seal a morale-boosting win in almost four hours to ensure Britain progress to the second round.

Afterwards team captain Smith, said: "You've got to be very pleased with a win. It's another step in the right direction but we should be winning matches at this level.

"You can see now when you look at someone like Jaziri, it just shows the depth in the men's game. The standard's going up and up all the time so for that reason it's just good to get through the tie."

Spain, Argentina and Sweden booked their places in the quarter-finals on Saturday, with Serbia, Kazakhstan, USA, Germany and France prevailing in their respective ties on Sunday to join them in the last eight of the World Group.