Last year Jack Draper, the current British No.4, made a great impression when he took a set off the world No.1 Novak Djokovic on his Wimbledon debut as a senior (having reached the Junior Final in 2018) and 12 months on, continues to show his potential with another great performance to defeat the in-form Belgian Zizou Bergs, the Ilkley Trophy champion.
It hurts, but you always want to do well here. I’ve done well here in the past. But the facts are I lost and he was too good Dan Evans
The 20-year-old Sutton player is an outstanding talent having risen some 150 places up the rankings to sit within the top 100 at the start of The Championships but unfortunately, his success this year will not gain him any points following the ATP’s decision to deny them from the event following the AELTC’s ban on Russian and Belarussian players.
Regardless of that, he is gaining an excellent reputation amongst the tennis loving public, especially home fans who came out to support him in his opening match on Court 12, and they weren’t disappointed with his 5-4 6-4 7-6(4) victory.
Draper’s big left-handed serve and forehand are his key weapons but he is also able to think on his feet and remain focused when under pressure, a great asset to have.
He broke serve to lead 4-3 in the opening set after surviving a tight game of his own and came through more pressure moments in the second.
The only disappointment for the young Londoner was dropping his serve in the third set when he had looked in total control, to allow Bergs gain a foothold on the match.
For the Belgian, no doubt frustrated at having fallen behind in both opening sets, that break brought him back to life. He created three chances to win it, (one with a Boris Becker-style diving volley winner) but despite his revival, Draper found an answer to stave them all off and progress into the second round.
However, his next assignment will provide him with a bigger task as he faces the 19th seeded, Alex de Minaur who is no slouch on the grass himself who, like Draper, reached the semi-finals at Eastbourne.
Dan Evans was frustrated by his opponent
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Much was expected of the British No.2 Dan Evans as his game is well suited to grass as he has proved having reached the third round these past two years.
But not so this year as the 32-year-old was outplayed 6-1 6-4 6-3 by the world number 99 from Australia, Jason Kubler, a qualifier.
It was a great disappointment for the Birmingham player seeded 28, who had arrived at the Championships full of confidence having prepared well by winning the Nottingham Challenger earlier this month and the unluckily drawn against eventual champion Matteo Berrettini in Stuttgart before exiting early in Eastbourne last week.
But on Tuesday Evans wasn’t allowed to get into the match by Kubler who had built up his own confidence levels through the three qualifying rounds he played to make the main draw for a second time.
Kubler was quickly into his game and never allowed an increasingly frustrated Evans into the match and it was the Aussie who progressed into the second round for the first time in his career.
“It hurts,” Evan admitted. “but you always want to do well here. I’ve done well here in the past. But the facts are I lost and he was too good.
“I’ll be moving on pretty swiftly. The beauty of this game is there’s another chance just around the corner.
“Yeah, as I said, it hurts. I’m a big boy now. There will be plenty more chances, there’s three other slams, there’s 30 other tournaments in the year I’ll play. These things will happen. That’s what happens.
“Again, it’s disappointing, it’s frustrating, it hurts. It’s not just me, it’s a team effort.”
Liam Broady came through a marathon five setter
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But there was more positive news with Liam Broady, the British No.5, coming through a marathon three-hours and 30-minutes match to down Slovakia’s Lukas Klein 4-6 6-3 7-5 6-7(2) 6-3.
Broady, ranked 132 in the world, a Junior Wimbledon finalist in 2011, recovered from being a break down in the decider to secure second round match against Argentina’s veteran player, Diego Schwartzman, the 12th seed, who made light work of Lucky Loser, Stefan Kozlov by dispatching the American 6-3 6-2 6-2.
It will be Broady’s second meeting with Schwartzman, who knocked him out last year at the same stage, a four set he will certainly be seeking to avenge.
Finally, Jay Clarke exited the tournament after he suffered a straight sets defeat to American qualifier Christian Harrison.
The pair resumed play on Tuesday afternoon after their match was suspended late on Monday night, but only 15 minutes were needed on Court 18 before Harrison wrapped up a 7-6(3) 6-1 7-6(6) win against the British No 7, world ranked 156.
Jay Clarke unable to join his compatriots in second round
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