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Jack Draper ends Carlos Alcaraz’s reign at Queen’s

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Jack Draper ends Carlos Alcaraz’s reign at Queen’s

New British number one Jack Draper claimed the biggest victory of his career by beating top seed Carlos Alcaraz at the cinch Championships.

The 22-year-old, now ranked a career-high 31 after winning his maiden ATP title in Stuttgart last week, stunned the reigning Queen’s and Wimbledon champion 7-6 (3) 6-3.

Spanish superstar Alcaraz, who also won the French Open earlier this month, had not been beaten in seven weeks or lost a match on grass in almost two years.

But Draper served notice that he is ready to mix it in the upper echelons of the game by becoming the first British man to beat a top-two player on grass since Andy Murray against Novak Djokovic in the 2013 Wimbledon final.

“It was a really tough match,” said Draper. “Carlos is the defending champion, he won Wimbledon, he’s an incredible talent and amazing for the sport.

“I had to come out and play well and luckily I did.

“There’s no place I’d rather be right now, with my family, my friends and the British support. I’ve got my grandad here, who’s just turned 80, he’s doing well.”

Draper will now fancy his chances of making it back-to-back titles and giving British men’s tennis a major shot in the arm after Andy Murray and Dan Evans suffered injuries which have threatened their participation at Wimbledon.

After a high-quality first set, which featured no break points, rumbled into a tie-break it was Draper who held his nerve.

Serving beautifully, he brought up five set points and took the third when Alcaraz dunked a return into the net.

Draper fashioned the first break point of the match at 3-2 in the second and dispatched it by punching an Alcaraz serve back down the line.

Alcaraz, 21, saved three match points on his own serve but Draper finished the job in the next game for a statement victory.

He will play American fifth seed Tommy Paul, a 6-3 6-4 winner over Chile’s Alejandro Tabilo, in the quarter-final.

Alcaraz was irritated by the automatic shot clock which forced him to hurry his serve and complained to umpire Mohamed Lahyani.

But he had no complaints about the result as his 13-match unbeaten streak on grass came to a shuddering halt.

“I’m not too good right now. I felt like I didn’t play well, I didn’t move well,” he said.

“Of course I have to give credit to Jack. I think he played really good tennis today,”

Draper was joined in the last eight by another Briton, wild card Billy Harris.

The 29-year-old journeyman from Nottingham, who usually travels to lower-tier tournaments in his camper van, has made a huge breakthrough this week.

He celebrated the news that he had been given a wild card for Wimbledon – and a guaranteed £60,000 pay day – by beating French qualifier Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard 6-4 7-5.

Harris said: “It’s massive for my confidence. I came into this match knowing it would be tough with his serve.

“The games went quick and I had to keep my focus. I got the breaks when I needed them and I thought I played well.

“I didn’t know how I’d react to coming out here but as soon as I came on court I got great support from the crowd and they helped me through the match.”

There was more British success in the doubles as Joe Salisbury and American partner Rajeev Ram beat scratch pairing Sebastian Korda and Alex De Minaur.

In the quarter-finals, Salisbury will face another Briton, Neal Skupski, who is playing alongside New Zealander Michael Venus.

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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