Jack Draper, who reached his first Masters Series quarter-final two weeks ago at Montreal, has reached the same stage at the 250 Tour level warm-up event for next weeks US Open with a comprehensives straight sets win over Dominic Thiem the former world No.3.
In the second set it was tough because he was coming up with some amazing shots. It was a real honour to be on court with Dominic. He's an amazing player Jack Draper
Britain’s No.4 defeated the 2020 US Open champion from Austria 6-1 6-4 to continue his preparations for the last major of the season in New York where he will be making his debut.
Thiem missed most of last year with a right wrist injury, including the chance to defend his US Open title.
Currently ranked at 231 Thiem hadn’t played a hardcourt match since March 2021 until this week but advanced to the third round when top seed Grigor Dimitrov retired feeling dizzy in the second set of their second-round match after struggling past American wildcard JJ Wolf over three sets in his opener.
In contrast, Draper, seeded 13 and ranked 55, had a first-round bye and then ousted Fabio Fognini over three sets before overwhelming Thiem for his third quarter-final appearance of the season.
“I was really good behind serve, really solid,” he said after not facing a break point in the 80-minute match. “In the second set it was tough because he was coming up with some amazing shots. It was a real honour to be on court with Dominic. He’s an amazing player.”
The 20-year-old swept into to a 5-0 lead and created 10 break chances in the match and it wasn’t until the second set that Thiem changed his game plan and came forward more often to provide Draper with some problems which the Brit was able to answer.
“I started confidently, I started well,” Draper said. “I was hitting through the ball, felt good in the conditions. It was a difficult start because I felt like everyone was supporting Dominic and I knew that I needed to come out confidently and sharp, and that’s what I did.”
Thiem saved two break points at 2-2 in the second set and another at 3-3 but Draper’s resolve was rewarded in the ninth game of the set as he closed out the match.
Next up for Draper is Switzerland’s Marc-Andrea Huesler, ranked 102 who upset the defending champion, 11th seeded Ilya Ivashka 7-6(2) 3-6 7-6(3) in a two-and-a-half-hour match which finished with the clock approaching 1.00 am local time.
Ivashka recovered an early break in the second set but lost the decider after failing to convert the only two break points of the final set.
Second seed Botic van de Zandschulp continued his efficient march at the bottom of the draw with a 6-3 6-3 win against 15th seed from Spain, Jaume Munar. The Dutchman has not dropped a set in two matches this week and will look to extend that run against 10th seeded Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi, a 7-5 6-2 winner against Brazilian Thiago Monteiro.
“I served quite well, returned well and was aggressive in the rallies,” the Van de Zandschulp said post-match. “I tried to dictate the play today and I think the strategy worked out.
“I played a little bit better on the big points, I think, and went for my shots when it was important,” he said. “It worked out today.”
Fourth seed and serve-and-volley exponent, Maxime Cressy and 14th seed Lorenzo Sonego of Italy, were involved in the longest contest of the day which, after two-hours and 46-minutes, was won by Cressy 6-7(4) 6-2 7-6(3).
Cressy was broken just once in the match on the only break point he offered which led to him surrendering an early lead in the deciding set. However, he recovered and dominated with his serve in the deciding tie-break.
Cressy will meet Adrian Mannarino in the quarter finals after the Frenchman’s 6-3 6-3 upset of the eighth seed Spaniard Albert Ramos Vinolas.
Also through to the last eight are the French veteran Richard Gasquet and Serbia’s Laslo Djere, the former beating Steve Johnson of the States, 6-7(3) 6-4 6-3 while the latter defeated the Aussie qualifier Jason Kubler 7-6(4) 6-7(9) 6-3.