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By Richard Pagliaro | @TennisNow | Thursday, June 20, 2024


Jack Draper dethroned defending champion Carlos Alcaraz 7-6(3), 6-3 for his eighth straight grass-court win at Queen's Club.

Photo credit: Luke Walker/Getty for LTA

Union Jacks were waving and Jack Draper was soaring.

Unsettling Wimbledon winner Carlos Alcaraz with his lefty spins and aggression, Draper dethroned the defending Cinch champion 7-6(3), 6-3 to score the biggest win of his career on the historic Queen’s Club grass.

More: Zverev Frustrated, Furious and Full of Praise

Before a capacity crowd filled with his family, friends, former schoolmates and enthusiastic British fans, Draper became the first British man to defeat a Top-2 ranked player on grass since his buddy Andy Murray beat world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the 2013 Wimbledon final.

“It was a really tough match,” Draper said in his on-court interview. “I mean I knew coming out here Carlos is defending champion here, obviously at Wimbledon last year.

“[He is] an incredible talent and so amazing for the sport. I had to come out and play really well and luckily I did today. So thank you.”

Draper scored his seventh straight grass-court victory, snapping Alcaraz’s 13-match grass-court winning streak in handing the Spaniard just his third career loss on turf.

Empowered by his run to his maiden ATP title on Sunday when he rallied from a set down to edge former Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 in the Stuttgart final, a fearless Draper showed no trace of nerve facing the reigning Roland Garros champion today.

The 22-year-old Briton banged eight aces, won 32 of 39 first-serve points and erased the lone break point he faced in the seventh game of the second set. Draper served with command under pressure, rallying from love-30 down in the final game to serve out the 99-minute victory that left his grandfather, watching from court-side, cheering his grandson’s every winner and beaming with pride at this result.

It was a much-needed boost for British fans as well coming a day after two-time Olympic gold-medal champion Murray hobbled off the Queen’s Club court suffering a back injury that could jeopardize his Wimbledon hopes.

The gloomy sight of iconic champion Murray limping off the grass yesterday gave way to Draper's exuberant elevation today.

There was plenty of cause to jump for joy. Draper delivered his first Top 10 win since he upset Felix Auger-Aliassime at the 2022 US Open—while scoring his 20th win of the season.

It’s the first time in his career Draper has won 20 matches in a single season.

“There’s no place I’d rather be right now,” Draper said. “My family, my friends, the British support—you guys are amazing—I want to keep on playing here. I’ve been desperate to come back.

“I’ve got my grandad here in the Under Armour [kit]. [He] just turned 80. My mom, my whole team and my school friends over there and all you guys thank you.”

Neither man managed a break point in the opening set. Draper held at 15 to force the tiebreaker then burst out to a 4-0 lead in the breaker.

As the top-seeded Alcaraz struggled to change direction off the Draper lefty forehand, the Brit extended his lead to 6-1 before closing his third set point for a one-set lead.

Straddling the baseline, Draper drilled a return winner down the line that landed right as Alcaraz was coming out of his service motion.

That strike gave Draper the crucial break and a 4-2 second-set lead. Draper denied a break point backing up the break for 5-2.

Credit Alcaraz, who scored back-to-back five-set wins over Jannik Sinner and Alexander Zverev to claim his maiden Roland Garros crown this month, for fighting until the final ball. In retrospect, this defeat may give Alcaraz the rest and recover time he needs ahead of his Wimbledon title defense that starts July 1st.

Staring down double match point, Alcaraz caught the line to save the first match point. On the second match point, Alcaraz banged a heavy serve to draw the return error for deuce.

The three-time Grand Slam champion fought off three match points in all holding for 3-5 and shifting pressure squarely back on Draper’s shoulders.

Embed from Getty Images

Down love-30 while serving for his biggest win, Draper did not blink.

The world No. 31 reeled off four consecutive points sealing a 99-minute triumph—the biggest of his career—when Alcaraz netted a forehand.

Draper will play American Tommy Paul for a spot in Saturday's semifinals.

Earlier, No. 5-seeded Paul swept Alejandro Tabilo 6-3, 6-4. 


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