Tennis

Montreal / On a day of upsets, Draper leads the way

The Canadian Open was blown wide open with Daniil Medvedev, Carlos Alacraz and Stefanos Tsitsipas, three of the world’s top five players, all being bundled out of the Masters event to hamper their preparations for the US Open which starts in a few weeks time.

Last week [after] Washington, me and my coach probably were thinking we weren’t even going to come here. We were going to maybe train a week, get a bit of confidence. But it paid off coming Jack Draper

The biggest upset of all three is the 7-5 7-6(4) demise of the third seeded Tsitsipas at the hands of Britain’s Jack Draper who overcame a ranking gap of 77 places to record the biggest win of his burgeoning career, and his first over a top ten player.

“This is why I put in all the hard work, for nights like this on stages like this,” the 20-year-old who earned his place in the main draw by coming through the qualifying competition, said in his on-court interview.

“Last week [after] Washington, me and my coach probably were thinking we weren’t even going to come here. We were going to maybe train a week, get a bit of confidence. But it paid off coming.”

Draper made good use of the court, moving the Greek around and keeping him on the back foot while remaining focused throughout the two hour contest.

“I didn’t really have much of a game plan,” Draper said. “I just thought I needed to play good tennis to beat Stefanos. He’s at the top of the game for a reason. [He’s] someone I’ve looked up to the last few years. It’s just good to be out here and try to express myself on this stage.”

Also through to the third round are compatriots Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie in what proved a good day for British tennis.

Evans upset the fifth seeded Muscovite Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 and Norrie comfortably took out the Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp 6-1 6-2.

Nick Kyrgios continues his run

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But prior to Draper’s success in the evening slot, the organisers were already reeling at the loss of both their top seeded players in the afternoon session.

And in some respects it wasn’t surprising to see Nick Kyrgios continuing the best run of his career by dispatching the world No.1 Medvedev 6-7(2) 6-4 6-2.

Both players had won separate titles at the weekend and both players were confident but it was the Australian who had the better game despite falling behind by playing a poor tie break in the first set.

Kyrgios’ serve is his major weapon and his ability to rally from the baseline and it wasn’t long before he regained control to out-rally and out-smart Medvedev from the baseline for his eighth consecutive win and 13th of his last 14 the only loss coming in the Wimbledon final!

“This is the fourth meeting we’ve had and I’ve had some success against him in the past,” Kyrgios said, “But he’s beaten me before. I feel like we know each other’s games well. I’m not the type of player that goes into this match looking at rankings or anything like that, it’s just who I’m playing and what kind of ball they’re giving me.

“Today I had a very clean objective of how I was going to play, a lot of serve-and-volley, a lot of aggressive play from the back,” he added. “I executed better than he did, that’s all it comes down to. He won the first set and I feel like I had opportunities there as well, so hopefully I can just keep this rolling.”

Medvedev shrugged off the loss declaring: “For me, today the biggest difference was that I missed in some important moments some shots. I didn’t miss much, but missed just a few where I think it could be different maybe in the later stage of a tournament. That’s a pity. At the same time, well, it’s like this.”

Next up for Kyrgios is his compatriot Alex De Minaur in what should prove and interesting match.

Tommy Paul enjoys one of his best wins

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The Spanish teenage prodigy, Carlos Alcaraz making his debut in Canada and seeded two as a result of his meteoric rise up the rankings to No.4, put up a strong show but couldn’t prevent Tommy Paul of the US from progressing 6-7(4) 7-6(7) 6-3.

“I felt the pressure to be the No. 2 seed in this kind of tournament, No. 4 in the world,” Alcaraz admitted following his loss. “It was the first time that I felt that pressure, and I couldn’t handle it.

“All I can say from this match is I have to train, I have to be ready to have this pressure, to have these kinds of moments, and to learn how to handle it. That’s all I can say right now.

“I could say I couldn’t show my best performance here,” he added. “But as I said, first rounds, you have to fight against your opponent and of course against yourself. Obviously it was tough to handle those moments knowing that I’m not playing my 100%, let’s say… It was a fight with myself.”

For Paul it was one the best wins of his career.

“It’s nice to finish matches at the net,” said Paul. “He hit a pretty nice passing shot there at the last point and I covered the line well, volleyed it well. I think I did a lot of things well today. I played a good level of tennis, especially there in the third set, so I’m happy to get through.

“I just felt like I was in his service games,” he added. “In the second set I felt like I could break. I didn’t expect to get two breaks back and serve for the set, I felt like I was playing comfortable tennis overall. I stuck to the game plan and played well.”

In other results Frenchman Gael Monfils moved into the third round with a two tiebreak sets win over Maxime Cressy while Indian Wells champion Taylor Fritz came from 4-0 down in the third to dispatch his good friend Frances Tiafoe.

Casper Ruud, Jannik Sinner and Roberto Bautista Agut were also winners as was Felix Auger-Aliassime who advanced past Washington finalist Yoshihito Nishioka.

Norway’s Ruud and local boy Auger-Aliassime are the two highest seeds left in the event, the former at four and the latter at 6.

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