16-year-old British star wins the first pro title in Nottingham

Tennis - Jack Draper will be the youngest player in the Top 1000 with these points

by Jovica Ilic
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16-year-old British star wins the first pro title in Nottingham

Sutton native Jack Draper has been the most promising British junior, reaching the semi-final at Roehampton and the final at Wimbledon (he defeated Nicolas Mejia 19-17 in the semi-final) this summer where Chun Hsin Cheng halted him in the title match. The 16-year-old has entered the Top 10 of the ITF junior list and he already had a chance to experience the pro action, qualifying for the main draw of the first Futures tournament at the age of 15 last September, losing to Escoffier in the third set tie break.

Jack had the opportunity to make a Challenger debut this June in Ilkley and also in the qualifying round at Wimbledon before winning his first pro match at Belgium F6 Futures at the end of July. Just a week later he was the semi-finalist as a qualifier at Slovakia F3 Futures in Bratislava and we didn't have to wait for too long to see his maiden professional title, conquering this week's Great Britain F4 Futures in Nottingham, only the sixth Futures main draw he has entered! With these 18 points, Draper will enter the Top 900 and he will be the youngest player in the Top 1000 and the only who is yet to turn 17! Jack had opened his campaign with a 6-1 6-3 win over Joel Cannell in an hour and 25 minutes, losing serve only once and scoring five breaks to control the scoreboard all the time.

He needed only 80 minutes to dismiss another rival, ousting the 2nd seed Karl Friberg 6-3 6-4 with breaks in the sixth game of the first and seventh game of the second set to secure the place in the quarters. There, the 5th seed Lucas Ollert had kept him on the court for almost two hours and Draper prevailed 2-6 6-3 6-4 in an hour and 52 minutes in the encounter with three breaks on each side.

The German won five games in a row in the opening set and jack responded with the break in the eighth game of the second set to take it 6-3 and force a decider. Ollert led 3-0 in the third set but the youngster managed to pull the break back in game five and this gave him the momentum to play better in the closing stages, winning eight points in a row in games nine and 10 to pass another obstacle and stay on the title course.

A qualifier Constantin Schmitz stood between Jake and the place in the final and the Briton delivered a commanding 6-2 6-1 win in an hour for his biggest result in a career. The German earned two breaks but it wasn't enough to keep him in touch after losing serve six times from as many chances he gave to Jake who played much better on both the first and second serve.

Draper controlled the pace all the time and he won six games in a row to seal the deal and find himself in the first professional final where he met the compatriot Andrew Watson. After two hours and nine minutes, Jack prevailed 3-6 7-6 6-0, playing better and better as the match progressed to clinch his maiden pro title at such a young age.

Jack struggled to find the range on his second serve but he did enough to force the third set where he dominated, scoring five breaks and losing serve four times to lift the trophy. Watson kicked off the match with a 4-0 lead, allowing Draper to bounce back but taking the opener 6-3 with another break.

They traded breaks in games seven and eight in set number two but Jack played on a much higher level than in the opener, staying in touch with his rival and winning six straight points in a tie break for a 7-3, building the momentum before the deciding set.

There, he stormed over his opponent to win all six games and bring the encounter home in the best possible style to celebrate the title and enter the Top 900, standing as one of the best players of his generation together with Chun Hsin Tseng who defeated him in Wimbledon final. Jack Draper's road towards the title:

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Jack Draper
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