Jack Draper beats ‘special person’ Andy Murray to set up Carlos Alcaraz clash – ‘Carlos is another level up’

Shahida Jacobs
Jack Draper in action

Jack Draper followed up his win over Dan Evans with another impressive display to defeat his idol Andy Murray in the third round of the Indian Wells Open and his reward is a last-16 match against Carlos Alcaraz.

In their first-ever meeting in top-level tennis, it was Draper’s youth and exuberance that got the better of the experience of Murray as the youngster secured a 7-6 (8-6), 6-2 victory in just over two hours.

It was only Murray’s third straight sets defeat of the year and certainly one of Draper’s most impressive to date with the result pushing him up to a provisional 43 in the ATP Live Rankings.

“I’ve looked up to Andy since I was so young. I watched him win Wimbledon for the first time in 2013 and then I’ve had the opportunity to get to know him and practise with him often since 2019,” he said.

He’s a really special person, a great champion, great human being and I’m privileged to play against him on this court.”

Draper was in the ascendency early on as he broke in the third game, but Murray was never going to go down quietly and he broke to love in game 10 before Draper saved a set point two games later. The 21-year-old then edged the tie-breaker as he wrapped up the set on his second set point.

The second set went to serve for the first five games before Draper broke through and, after saving two break points on his own serve, the left-hander broke again to secure his first-ever win over the former world No 1.

“I want to keep on trying to impose my game and use my weapons,” Draper said of his ventures forward.

“It’s not easy in these conditions. It’s quite slow tonight, the wind was a bit swirly and obviously playing against Andy, he makes it incredibly awkward for you. It’s something I’m looking to improve with my coach and it’s definitely starting to pay off a little bit more.”

He will take on world No 2 and US Open champion Alcaraz next after the Spaniard beat Tallon Griekspoor, but he knows he will need to play even better.

“Beating Dan and Andy, that’s about as much confidence as I’d need for that match,” Draper – who lost in three sets against Alcaraz in Basel in October, he said.

“Carlos is another level up, he’s been No 1 in the world, had an exceptional year last year, so it would be amazing to play him again in another real battle.”