Jack Draper followed Cameron Norrie into the quarter finals of the Rothesay International and the pair could be joined by Ryan Peniston whose second-round match was suspended by poor light ,but Dan Evans failed to progress further on the grass courts of Eastbourne.
Diego is such an amazing player. He's so tough to hit the ball past and I felt like I got a bit tentative at times. It was tough out here in the wind and I'm just glad to get the job done Jack Draper
Draper beat Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman, the fourth seed, 7-5 7-6(3) while Norrie, produced a straightforward performance to defeat qualifier Brandon Nakashima of the US, 6-4 6-2 and while Evans, the British No.2, battled as best he could against another American Maxime Cressy, the Warwickshire player lost 7-6(2) 6-4.
But it was the 20-year-old Draper’s attacking display to beat the world No. 15 in straight sets which impressed as he scored his second top-20 win in successive weeks.
Howeverr, in his on-court interview, the British No.4 ranked 108, admitted it hadn’t been easy to defeat the stubborn diminutive (in tennis terms) South American.
“That was tough,” he said. “We all get nervous but I’m so happy to come through.
“Diego is such an amazing player. He’s so tough to hit the ball past and I felt like I got a bit tentative at times. It was tough out here in the wind and I’m just glad to get the job done.
“I need to get some rest [ahead of the quarter-final]. Have a good dinner, stay well. practice well and I’ll be out here again.”
Draper added: “There were a few obstacles for both of us with the shadows and blustery conditions. Playing against these top guys is what I need week in week out.
“British tennis is doing well. We all try to push each other to be better and to move up the rankings, but yes, I think in general the LTA have done an amazing job. I know people are quick to slag them off but I will be the first to say they really changed the way British tennis is.”
Draper, making his debut at Eastbourne, had fallen a break behind in the first game but powered his way back to take the first set.
Then the Surrey left-hander served for the match at 5-3 but was forced into a tie-break by the former-world No.8 where, spurred on by the Devonshire Park crowd, he came through dropping just three points to claim his second quarter final place on the senior tour after Queen’s 2021, which should improve his world ranking yet again.
Draper will face Spain’s Pedro Martinez or compatriot Ryan Peniston in the quarter final but will have to wait until Thursday morning to find out the outcome of that match, which was suspended due to fading light with the score in the Brits favour standing at 7-6(8) 3-6 3-2 after two-hour sand 48-minutes of play.
Earlier in the day, Norrie, 26, who suffered an early exit at Queen’s last week, won his first grass court match of the season with a strong display of serving to defeat Nakashima
After missing four break points early in the first set, Norrie eventually converted one for a 3-2 lead to take control, recovering from 0-40 down when he was serving for the set.
The second set started with the top seed converting his fourth break point in the opening game of the set before winning four games in a row and while the American qualifier saved one match point when serving to stay in the match, he couldn’t prevent the world No.12 serving out in the next, clinching victory with a fine forehand winner for his second quarter final at Eastbourne and seventh of the year.
“I really enjoyed it. I was a little bit nervous going out there, as I hadn’t won a match on the grass this year,” Norrie admitted.
“Eastbourne is really special for me; it was where I got my first-ever ATP win. I love coming here and it was also nice to get some matches before Wimbledon. I would’ve been nice to have gone deeper at Queen’s but I’ve got this week to do that.”
In other action Kazakh Alexander Bublik dispatched Aussie John Millman 6-4 6-2 and will face the third seed from the US, Taylor Fritz who took out Brazilian qualifier Thiao Monteiro 7-5 6-3.
American Tommy Paul produced the upset of the day in ranking terms, when he defeated the second seeded Jannik Sinner from Italy 6-3 3-6 6-3 and goes on to face Australia’s Alex De Minaur, the defending champion, a 7-6(3) 6-2 victor over Italian Lorenzo Sonego in what was a repeat of last year’s final.
The day,however, was marred by the news that both Schwartzman and Martinez had had their rooms burgled earlier in the week.
Police were called to the Hydro Hotel on Monday night where both players made their statements following the loss of some valuable items.
“When I arrived in the room I realised that my watch wasn’t there. I searched throughout the room, it was not there and when I went to reception to communicate to the people, then Diego came 15 minutes after telling the same.”
Martinez had to play a match that day and was successful in beating Alejandro Davidovich-Fokina in his opening match but he did admit it hadn’t been easy.
“It was difficult, I had a watch stolen from my room [on Monday] and Schwartzman had some items also stolen from his room. I had a bad night, that’s the truth. I didn’t sleep. It was difficult to prepare for the match but I just tried to focus on playing.”