London | Draper falls to Paul and Harris loses to Musetti

Not surprising perhaps, but after Thursday’s efforts and the ensuing attention it created, Jack Draper couldn’t follow up with another win on the Queen’s Club grass courts to crash out of the cinch Championships at the quarter final stage.

I was definitely having to pick myself up. I felt quite flat at times, Jack DRaper

A tired and fatigued Draper was beaten by the No.2 American, Tommy Paul, ranked 13, a slim and athletic player, 6-3 5-7 6-4 but the buzz was still about the 22-year-old’s potential following his straight sets defeat of Carlos Alcaraz, the defending Queen’s champion and reigning Wimbledon title holder.

Despite his tiredness, he fought valiantly to level the match and give hope for a possible turn round, but his body couldn’t keep it up in the decider.

However, he is expected to rise up a few further places to 29 when the new rankings are published on Monday and is consequently assured a seeded place in the Wimbledon draw.


Tommy Paul shakes hands with a tired Jack Draper

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

“Physically I felt good. My body’s been great,” the British No.1 said afterwards.

“It just becomes mentally quite taxing, having to go day after day.”

At first there were high expectations of a home victory as the pair locked horns and traded breaks at the start of the first set but a poor combination of shots from Draper handed the advantage to his American opponent who broke for 5-3 and didn’t need much encouragement to claim the set in the next game.

Draper’s response was positive as he upped his aggression in the second and held set points at 5-4 which where quickly snuffed out by some excellent serving from Paul who was then broken when attempting to push the set into a tiebreak.

The Brit kept the momentum going but now the toll of his efforts, physically and mentally, became more and more evident as he willed himself forward.

A poor service game at 4-3 down ultimately cost him, with a weary double fault aiding Paul to secure the decisive break.

“I was definitely having to pick myself up. I felt quite flat at times,” Draper admitted.

“But at the end of the day, if I want to be one of the best players in the world, then I have to get used to going deep every week.”

Paul will face fellow American Sebastian Korda after the world number 23 fought back from a set down to defeat Australia’s Rinky Hijikata 6-7(4) 6-3 6-4.

Earlier, Britain’s wildcard Billy Harris, the British No.6, missed out on a maiden Tour semi-final following a 6-3 7-5 loss to Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti.

Musetti will face Jordan Thompson next after the Australian, ranked 43rd in the world, claimed a surprise 6-4 6-3 victory over American fourth seed Taylor Fritz.

Speaking after the match, Musetti said: “I am a little bit emotional right now because it has been a tough year for me with a lot of downs and not too many ups.

“But these past two weeks have been amazing, reaching the semi-finals.

“I’m really proud of myself and what we are achieving right now. We struggled a little bit, but in sport you have to suffer and try again, and that’s what makes this win particularly special for me.”

The win over Harris helped Musetti match his performance in Stuttgart last week when he secured a first semi-final appearance at a tour-level event on grass.


Billy Harris congratulates Lorenzo Musetti on his win

Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Meanwhile the 29-year-ol, Harris, who has spent most of his career in the Challenger level of the game and is known for travelling to tournaments in a camper van where he stays during events, is finally making his mark.

He won his first main tour match last year and was ranked outside the top 300 in October but now he is set to break into the top 160. He has earnt himself £121,000 for reaching the last eight at Queen’s and is guaranteed another £60,000 by simply playing in the first round at Wimbledon where he is competing courtesy of another wildcard.

“It’s definitely going to help – it’s expensive getting around in this sport so any money you can get is a massive help,” Harris, who is from the Isle of Man, said.

“Will I treat myself? A new van, maybe, potentially. I drive a Mini Cooper at the moment.

“It’s a bit tight, I get in and out of a van a bit easier,” the 6’3” player wryly admitted.




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