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Jack Draper rides British wave at Eastbourne to reach quarter-finals

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Jack Draper rides the British wave in Eastbourne to reach the quarterfinals - GETTY IMAGES
Jack Draper rides the British wave in Eastbourne to reach the quarterfinals – GETTY IMAGES

Young British talent Jack Draper reached his second quarter-final of his tour-level career and ended it with a surprise gift from a seagull in Eastbourne.

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Draper’s 7-5, 7-6 victory over world No. 15 Diego Schwartzman was the second-best ranked finish of his career and saw him reach the bottom eight on another busy day for the Brits at Eastbourne. But during the celebration of the victory, during the post-match court interview, bird droppings were sprayed on his wrist. “A bird just shit on me,” he said, laughing. – This is luck?”

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Unsurprisingly, the 20-year-old Draper could see the positives. Just outside the top 100, he performs quite well on grass, landing well above his weight. Draper reached the round of 16 at Queen’s after defeating Indian Wells champion Taylor Fritz, and his last setback against Schwartzman was also impressive.

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After several nervous breakdowns while serving in the match, Draper recovered to play in a clinical tie-break to take the win. He said his recent progress is partly due to the muting of the fiery side of his character. who was prone to excessive boiling during his youthful career.

“When I was a junior and just starting in the pros, I was very excited about my emotions,” he said. “I would be on a roller coaster and that makes it harder for me to stay in the moment. When you level up playing against someone like Diego, those top players, they don’t give you a second chance. be up to me to make a difference.

“I want to be the best player in the world so I know that I have to deal with all this emotion and pressure. But I feel like the only pressure I can put on myself is in my own head. as long as I keep doing the right thing and improving, that’s all I can do.”

There was also a double victory for compatriot Harriet Dart, who took two wins in one day to make it into the last eight. Dart’s second round match against Switzerland’s Jill Teichmann was suspended on Tuesday due to poor lighting, and so she was forced to play the decider on Wednesday morning before returning to the court to face Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk in the next round.

It turned into a real fight, but Dart won 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. It was another impressive victory for Dart, who is ranked 103rd in the world and also reached the quarter-finals at the Nottingham Open earlier this month. She will next face former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who has ousted Britain’s Cathy Boulter.

Harriet Dart won two matches on Wednesday - GETTY IMAGES
Harriet Dart won two matches on Wednesday – GETTY IMAGES

Otherwise, it was a mixed day for domestic talent. Jody Burrage finally left Eastbourne after a valiant round of 16 run in which she defeated world No. 3 Paulo Badosa. She was well beaten by the current best-placed grass tennis player, Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil, who is on a 12-match winning streak. Dan Evans lost to American Maxime Cressy in straight sets, who will face Briton No. 1 Cam Norrie in the last eight.

Norrie said goodbye to the Round of 16 and finally took his first grass win of the year, dominating American Brandon Nakashima on Wednesday. Ryan Peniston’s match was abandoned due to poor coverage in the deciding set against Pedro Martinez.

Last week in Eastbourne was one of the most successful for the British in recent times, with seven players reaching the 1/8 finals in men’s and women’s singles. With two of Britain’s biggest tennis stars, Andy Murray and Emma Radukan, having to miss out on this week’s competition with their respective stomach injuries, the rest of the players have risen to the challenge, and this bodes well for them on grass at Wimbledon. next week.

British success at Eastbourne was only overshadowed by 23-time world champion Serena Williams, who made her long-awaited return to competitive tennis. On Wednesday, she took her second win in a week and advanced to the doubles semi-finals at Devonshire Park with partner Ons Jaber.

She and Jaber looked much more in sync than in the first round and it was a straight 6-2, 6-4 no-drama victory over doubles specialist Shuko Aoyama of Japan and Chan Hao-jing of Taiwan. Next, they will meet with Magda Lynette and Alexandra Krunich.


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