It was the match of the day as far as British fans were concerned as they watched the future of their national game take on the player who has dominated it for the past decades in what was their first meeting on the professional circuit.
He's a really special person, a great champion, great human being and I'm privileged to play against him on this court Jack Draper
And the result shows that that future has indeed arrived for the 21-year-old Jack Draper reached the fourth round of the Indian Wells Masters by beating Andy Murray in straight sets and there he will face the world No.2 Carlos Alcaraz in what will prove another testing match for the young Londoner.
Draper defeated his 35-year-old opponent who has a long string of successes to his credit, including the Indian Wells title, 7-6(6) 6-2, after saving a set point in the opening set.
The youngster hit 31 winners in a powerful display as, for the second time in 48-hours, he eliminated a Brit having dispatched Dan Evans, also in straight sets, in the previous round.
“I’ve looked up to Andy since I was so young,” Draper revealed.
“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’s a really special person, a great champion, great human being and I’m privileged to play against him on this court.”
Considering the importance of the encounter, it was surprising to see a nerveless Draper take early control by breaking Murray and sweep into a an early 3-1 lead.
He also had a chance of a double break in the seventh game but, having failed, immediately dropped his serve to love in the next as he attempted to serve out.
Draper had three more chances to regain his advantage and saved a set point with an ace as the set went into a roller-coaster of a tie-break.
With neither player able to string together two consecutive points from 3-3 it was an edgy period of the match until Draper edged it.
The second set was dominated by serve with Draper eventually making the telling breakthrough to lead 4-2 and hung on as Murray fought back in the next game but failed to convert two break points which might have prevented his young compatriot from subsequently claiming the victory after two-hours and 3-minutes.
“I want to keep on trying to impose my game and use my weapons,” Draper said later.
“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.”
How far he has progressed will be seen when he faces Alcaraz, the teenager who took the tennis world by storm last season.
he 19-year-old from Murcia advanced past the Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor 7-6(4) 6-3 to set up what will be the second meeting between himself and the young Brit.
“Beating Dan and Andy, that’s about as much confidence as I’d need for that match,” Draper said on confirmation of his next opponent.
“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.”
Alcaraz notched up his 100th win to reach the fourth round and has a chance of getting back to world No. 1 if he wins the title in Indian Wells, and, looking ahead to his clash with Draper, said: “I’m ready. I love playing those kind of matches.
“Jack’s playing really well. I played against him just once in Basel not a long time ago ((which he won),. It was really tough. I know that I have to put my best level, I have to show my 100 per cent to [beat] a great opponent like Jack.
“I think it’s going to be a really beautiful match to watch for the crowd and obviously I’m going to enjoy the match.”
There were plenty of other memorable matches including a stunning 6-2 6-7 (5) 7-5 victory by Stan Wawrinka over the seventh seed Dane, Holger Rune which ended with the pair continuing arguing over something which occurred during their meeting at last year’s Paris Masters!
The Swiss three-time grand slam champion faces the 11th seed Jannik Sinner next after the Italian advanced with a 7-6(7) 6-4 victory over Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.
Also safely though is the defending champion. local boy Taylor Fritz who made light work of Argentina’s Sebastian Baez, sweeping past him 6-1 6-2 to face Hungarian Miomir Fucsovic who in turn eliminated Slovakia’s Alex Molcan 6-4 6-2.
Meanwhile, Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime, the eighth seed, secured his place in the last-16 with a 7-5 6-4 win over Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo.
Auger-Aliassime will meet American Tommy Paul next, who thrilled his home crowd by recovering from a set down against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz to come through 4-6 6-2 6-4.