Manchester | Draper makes excellent Davis Cup debut

In the race for the top two spots in Group B and a place in next November’s knockout stages of the Davis Cup Finals in Malaga, France was beaten by Australia in the second of the pool matches being played in Manchester.

I'm so happy Leon trusted me and put me out here Jack Draper

For Australia it was vital to score a win having lost the previous day to Britain and France making a winning start in their opening tie against Switzerland on Tuesday, leading the Group.

The 2-1 Aussie victory over the French leaves three nations with a win, with Britain playing their second tie Friday against Switzerland which they must win if they are to stay in the race.

In Wednesday’s tie against Australia, Leon Smith, the British Davis Cup captain, opted for Jack Draper and Dan Evans in the singles, with Neal Skupski partnering Evans in the doubles.

His team selection proved spot on with Draper, on his debut in the competition, again showing why the 21-year-old is being considered as the best prospect Britain has.

Draper won 6-7(6) 6-3 7-6 (4) against Thanasi Kokkinakis in just under three hours to set the scene and Evans followed to upset the rankings with a 6-1 2-6 6-4 score over the world No.12, Alex de Minaur.

Dan Evans and Neal Skupski in action during the doubles rubber

(Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images for ITF)

Unfortunately, Evans and Skupski lost the final doubles rubber 7-6(5) 6-4 which might prove crucial later in the final calculations for clinching qualification.

Draper was delighted at being given the opportunity to play.

“I’m playing for my country and had to put everything out on the line – usually I’m playing for myself,” he said following his high-octane victory. “There is nothing better. It was a real battle; it is amazing to play my first Davis Cup tie in the UK and I’m grateful to be here.

“I’m so happy Leon trusted me and put me out here.”

Evans, who took a set off Carlos Alcaraz in New York and had a good record over the Aussie No.1 having beaten him twice before, successfully maintained the team’s momentum, stated: “I was incredible nervous!”

Whether the pair will be called on for Friday’s tie, has yet to be confirmed with Cameron Norrie and Andy Murray available to him as alternates.

For the Swiss, who are back at the highest level of Davis Cup for the first time since 2015, the team will look to veteran star Stan Wawrinka – a Davis Cup champion alongside Roger Federer in 2014 – and will possibly be backed up by Dominic Stricker or Marc-Andre Huesler who partnered Wawrinka in the doubles against France, a tie they lost 3-0.

In other action the defending champions Canada cruised past Sweden for a second straight Group A win in Bologna, despite being without Felix Auger-Aliassime, Milos Raonic and Denis Shapovalov.

Meanwhile, the United States suffered their first defeat in Group D, losing to the Netherlands in Split while the Czech Republic backed up their Group C win over Spain by defeating South Korea in Valencia.



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By :