Jack Draper’s big triumph on clay capped an unlikely British hat-trick at the Madrid Open alongside fellow winners Emma Raducanu and Dan Evans… and after taking a set against Novak Djokovic last summer, he’s now quickly heads to the top 100
- Jack Draper fought his way past world number 27 Lorenzo Sonego 6-4, 6-3
- Emma Raducanu only lost three games in victory over Marta Kostyuk
- Dan Evans beat Federico Delbonis 6-3, 6-4 to join Draper in the second round
Mark the day when Emma Raducanu and Jack Draper both won within hours of each other at a major touring event, because it looks like the first in a long line.
The 19 and 20-year-olds played on the nearby show courts at the Madrid Open on Sunday and both scored victories on a surface that has at times been a graveyard for British tennis players.
Dan Evans, a more established source of wins in recent years, made it a hat-trick for GB of straight-set progressions.
Jack Draper celebrates during his victory over Lorenzo Sonego on Sunday at the Madrid Open
Right now, Raducanu needs no introduction, but a 6-2, 6-1 loss to US Open champion Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine extended a run on brown earth – five wins in seven matches – which seemed unlikely a few weeks ago.
Draper is a less familiar figure for those outside of tennis, but that may not be the case for long as he is rapidly heading into the top 100.
Of the three victories, that of the young southpaw was the most eye-catching. Reaching service speeds of 138mph, he blasted his way past Italian world number 27 Lorenzo Sonego 6-4, 6-3.
Twice in the past month, Draper has received wildcards in Masters-level tournaments, courtesy of his management company that owns the Miami and Madrid events, and twice he’s vindicated them by winning his opener. He now faces a tough test in world number 8 Andrey Rublev, one of the Russians currently playing with token neutral status.
Emma Raducanu was also victorious among the Brits as she regains her best form
Like Raducanu, Draper played very little on clay, but that didn’t stop him from overpowering a more experienced opponent with a game that featured fast-developing weapons. Last summer he took a set against Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon and had his career-best victory against Jannik Sinner at Queen’s, but it was probably an improvement on that.
“I think that would be the best – maybe on clay it’s more important to show people that I can definitely play,” he said. “My best friend back home said it would be a statement if you got a few wins on this (surface).”
Raducanu was delighted with her victory over Kostyuk, which was a brutal reversal from their meeting in Romania last October. The score that day was again 6-2, 6-1, but in favor of the Ukrainian.
Since then, Kostyuk had to face a lot, but still it was impressive again from Raducanu. Confidence is returning to the Kent teenager, and if Kostyuk had been more consistent, it would be considered her best victory since her triumph in New York. In the third round, she will face another Ukrainian, world No. 37 Anhelina Kalinina.
Dan Evans will also join Draper in the second round to complete a hat-trick of British wins
“I feel like it was one of those matches where I was so zoned out and focused that I didn’t know what the score was,” she said.
“I was just zoned out on every point because I knew as soon as I let go, she was just waiting for that moment for me to let go and she’s a fighter. I’ve known her since juniors. She’s been known as a fighter for many years and I just knew I had to go in if I wanted to get the job done.
Evans beat Argentina’s Federico Delbonis 6-3, 6-4 to join Draper in the men’s second round. Andy Murray takes on former US Open champion Dominic Thiem in the first round, with Cam Norrie also in action against Korean qualifier Kwon Soon-woo.