Defeat with Dignity: Jack Draper's Words of Appreciation for Jiri Lehecka

Jack Draper lost the Adelaide final to Jiri Lehecka in three sets

by Jovica Ilic
Defeat with Dignity: Jack Draper's Words of Appreciation for Jiri Lehecka
© Sarah Reed / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

The 22-year-old Briton Jack Draper is still seeking his first ATP title. Jack lost his second ATP final in Adelaide on Saturday, falling to Jiri Lehecka 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Two young guns battled over two rivals, and one break of serve decided every set.

Draper stayed classy in defeat, praising Lehecka and admitting his rival played better than him. The Briton will gain confidence from another title clash, which motivates him to push even harder. Jiri saved eight out of nine break points, staying composed after the opener and making a turnaround with two breaks of serve.

The Czech held at love at the beginning of the duel, landing a forehand winner for 1-0. Draper closed the second game with an ace, creating two break chances at 1-1. Lehecka denied them with winners and held with an ace to remain on the positive side.

They played fast and aggressive tennis, reaching 3-3 in 21 minutes. Jack stepped in and earned three break points in the seventh game after passing his rival at the net. Draper fired a forehand winner on the first, clinching a break at love and opening a 4-3 gap.

Not serving well in those moments, Lehecka faced two set points on serve in game nine.

Jack Draper praised Jiri Lehecka following their Adelaide duel.

The Czech saved them and held with a backhand winner, prolonging the set and his chances.

Draper served for the set at 5-4 and closed it with a forehand winner after 44 minutes, wishing for more in set number two. Jack denied a break point in the second set's fourth game, and Jiri repeated that in the next one, with two rivals staying neck and neck.

Lehecka found his A-game on the return at 5-4, painting a backhand winner and creating three set points. Jiri seized the second after a nice drop shot, forcing a decider after an hour and a half. The Czech used the momentum and delivered another break in game two after the Briton's wayward drop shot.

Lehecha had to work hard at 3-1, facing three break points. He stayed focused and erased them with winners before landing an ace for a vital hold and 4-1. After three good holds on both sides, Jiri served for the title at 5-3.

He forged two match points and converted the second with an unreturned serve, becoming an ATP champion for the first time.

Jack Draper, Adelaide 2024© Mark Brake / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

"I congratulate Jiri.

We both chased the first ATP title today, but he outplayed me. I have played well here for two years and hope to return for many more years. It was nice to compete in the final; that's why I train hard," Jack Draper said.

Jack Draper Jiri Lehecka Jiri Lehecka