Jack Draper stuns home hope to reach ATP Next Gen semi-finals
Great Britain’s Jack Draper delivered a fine performance to storm to victory over Lorenzo Musetti and book a place in the ATP Next Gen Finals last four.
Draper defeated the Italian Musetti 4-1, 4-0, 4-3(3) to reach the semi-finals in Milan.
Musetti and Draper headed into the match holding a 1-1 record in the Red Group with the winner set to go on to the knockouts.
In front of a packed and partisan crowd in Mila, Draper produced a clinical display that silenced the home supporters, and punched holes in Musetti’s defence with a fierce bombardment of groundstrokes to advance.
“Yesterday I played a bit better than my first match and then today I really hit some form,” Draper said. “I played well, served great. Lorenzo is a great player and he may have been a bit tired after his match yesterday, but I am glad with the way I played today.”
Making his debut at the 21-and-under event the 20-year-old Brit flew out of the blocks, hitting his flat backhand through the court with confidence and taking control of the crucial match.
Musetti took a tumble at the start of the second set, and seemingly shaken was unable to live with Draper’s aggressive forehand and a swinging lefty serve that had him chasing ghosts.
That recipe ensured the Briton overpowered the Italian to earn his 19th tour-level win of the season.
He enjoyed the challenge of quieting the crowd and said that it was good to hear them in full voice even if they weren’t cheering him on.
“I like crowds, if they are with me or not,” Draper said. “This is what I have wanted to do since I was young. I wanted to entertain people. This is why I train every day.”
With his 56-minute victory, Draper has set up a semi-final meeting against 21-year-old American prospect Brandon Nakashima on Friday.
Meanwhile Swiss youngster, Dominic Stricker will face Jiri Lehecka in the other semi-final.
Draper has undoubtedly enjoyed an incredible breakthrough year in 2022.
He won four ATP Challenger Tour titles in quick succession, encouraging a step up to the main tour, before he upset Stefanos Tsitsipas en route to the quarter-finals at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Montreal.
Home favourite Musetti had also been in fine form, lifting tour-level trophies in Hamburg and Naples, but he was unable to find his best level in Milan, falling at the round-robin stage for the second consecutive season.
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