ATP Adelaide: Jack Draper and Jiri Lehecka set title clash

Jiri Lehecka or Jack Draper will claim the first ATP title on Saturday

by Jovica Ilic
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ATP Adelaide: Jack Draper and Jiri Lehecka set title clash
© Mark Brake / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

The young guns Jiri Lehecka and Jack Draper will fight for the first ATP title in Auckland on Saturday. The upcoming stars reached one final in 2023, with both finishing runner-up. Now, one of them will secure the ATP trophy a day before the start of the season's first Major in Melbourne.

Jiri Lehecka scored a dominant 6-2, 6-1 victory over last year's finalist Sebastian Korda in an hour and 12 minutes. The Czech fired seven aces and defended all three break chances in one challenging service game, keeping the pressure on the other side.

Korda stood miles away from those numbers behind the initial shot, giving away over half of the points in his games and facing 14 break points. The American defended ten, reducing the deficit but still experiencing a massive loss 12 months after almost beating Novak Djokovic.

Korda stayed in touch with Lehecka in the more advanced rallies. However, the Czech dominated the shortest, building the crucial advantage and sailing over the top.

Alexander Bublik, Adelaide 2024© Mark Brake / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Jiri made a reliable start, holding at love in the encounter's first game with a service winner.

Lehecka found the rhythm on the return right from the start, earning three break points in game two after a forehand winner following a lucky net cord. Sebastian stepped in and denied them, with two rivals embracing an entertaining battle.

Unwilling to let the break go away, Lehecka seized the seventh break chance after the rival's loose backhand, moving 2-0 in front and gaining a boost. The Czech painted an ace down the T line in the third game, holding at love and confirming the advantage.

Korda got his name on the scoreboard with a service winner in game four, holding at 15 and reducing the deficit. The fifth set saw the first issues for Lehecka on serve. However, he climbed back from 0-30 and forced Korda's mistake after deuce, forging a 4-1 advantage.

The American grabbed the sixth game with a service winner, looking better than in the opening games.

Jiri Lehecka and Jack Draper are the Adelaide finalists.

The seventh game offered three break chances for Sebastian that could have brought him back to the positive side.

Jiri squandered game points and offered his opponent those break opportunities. The Czech erased the third with a booming serve and held after the eighth deuce, opening a 5-2 advantage. Korda served to stay in the set in game eight and experienced another loose service game.

Lehecka seized the second set point after the rival's loose backhand, taking the opener 6-2 after 42 minutes. Jiri presented four fine holds in the second set, and Sebastian could not follow that pace. Korda missed a volley at the net in the second game, facing two break points.

Lehecka seized the first with a deep return, moving 2-0 in front and controlling the pace. Jiri closed the third game with an ace and held at love two games later for 4-1. The sixth game saw another marathon and four break points for the Czech.

Jiri seized the last, moving 5-1 in front and serving for the victory. Lehecka delivered another fine hold in game seven, wrapping it up at love with a service winner and reaching the title clash in style. The young Briton Jack Draper is the second semi-final, ousting Alexander Bublik 7-6, 6-4 in an hour and 36 minutes.

Jack landed eight aces and overpowered Alexander behind the second serve. Draper lost serve two times and grabbed three breaks to emerge at the top in straight sets. The Briton had the upper hand in the shortest and most advanced rallies, delivering a flawless performance behind his serve in the second set to remain on the title course.

Bublik made a shaky start, squandering three game points at 0-1 and losing serve after netting a forehand. The Kazakh landed a drop shot winner in the third game, creating two break points and seizing the second after passing a left-hander at the net.

Alexander played a much worse drop shot in game four, losing serve for the second straight time and falling 3-1 behind.

Jiri Lehecka, Adelaide 2024© Sarah Reed / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Draper could not take advantage of that, suffering a break in game five after a loose forehand and keeping his rival on the positive side.

They raised their levels on serve in the next six games, with Jack opening a 6-5 lead with a hold at love. Bublik faced a set point in the 12th game and denied it, bringing the game home and introducing a tie break. Jack claimed all five points behind the second serve and landed a perfect drop shot winner at 3-2 to build the lead.

Alexander netted a routine forehand in the seventh point, falling 5-2 behind and allowing his rival to wrap up the opener with a forehand winner after an hour. With a boost on his side, the Briton served well in the second set and awaited a return chance.

The Kazakh hit a double fault in the fifth game, losing serve and falling 3-2 behind. Draper cemented the lead with a volley winner in the sixth game and blasted an ace at 4-3 to remain in front. Alexander prolonged the battle with a hold in game nine, and Jack served for the victory at 5-4. The Briton held at love, sealing the deal in style and moving into the title clash.

Jack Draper Jiri Lehecka Jiri Lehecka
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