Jack Draper‘s strong grass-court form propelled him into his second career ATP Tour quarter-final — and his first of 2022 — on Wednesday at the Rothesay International in Eastbourne. The #NextGenATP Briton followed up a straight-sets victory against Jenson Brooksby with a 7-5, 7-6(3) upset of fourth seed Diego Schwartzman as he recorded multiple wins at a tour-level event for the first time this season.
Playing on home soil for the third straight event, Draper broke serve three times in the victory while saving four of six break points against him. The 20-year-old settled into the contest after dropping serve to love in the opening game. Though he failed to serve out the match at 5-3 in the second — again losing four straight points — he regrouped to save a break point at 5-5 and won the final five points of the tie-break to advance.
“I got a bit tight and a bit tentative. Sometimes when that happens you can come into yourself a little bit and start playing more offensively,” Draper reflected. “My coach was trying to tell me to be brave, try and impose your game on the court. At this level, guys take advantage [if you don’t do that].
“It was a really tough match with Diego. He’s a great competitor, great player and he’s at the top of the game for a reason. Very happy to come through the match.”
The Briton played aggressive tennis in front of his home fans, winning and losing points on his own terms with 30 winners and 35 unforced errors. In both sets, he found the range at the crucial late moments.
Draper advances to face either countryman and fellow wild card Ryan Peniston or Spain’s Pedro Martinez in the quarter-finals. Peniston led that match, 7-6(8), 3-6, 3-2, when it was suspended due to darkness on Wednesday evening.
“If it’s Ryan, that’s good new because it’s another Brit into the quarter-finals,” he said. “Very happy with the way he’s playing at the moment. I think it’s really good for British tennis, having another guy who’s playing playing excellent tennis. It will be a tough match if I play him, two lefties.
“If I play Martinez, that’s another player who’s a Top 50 guy. He’s a really tough competitor. It will be tough to play him. I’ve practised with him a fair bit. Either way, I look forward to whoever I’m playing.”
An all-British semi-final against top seed Cameron Norrie could also be on the cards, should both men advance.
The Sutton native broke into the Top 100 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time on 13 June behind four ATP Challenger Tour titles this season. On that same day, he celebrated with an upset win against third seed Taylor Fritz at the Cinch Championships.
Draper is also fifth in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Milan, putting him in a strong position to make his debut at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in November.