Jack Draper surfs the British wave at Eastbourne to reach the quarter-finals

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Britain’s young talent Jack Draper reached his second tour-level quarter-final of his career and capped it off with an unwelcome gift from a seagull at Eastbourne.

Draper’s 7-5, 7-6 victory over world number 15 Diego Schwartzman was the second-best of his career based on the standings, and saw him reach the last eight in what was another action-packed day. for the British at Eastbourne. But during the victory celebration, during a post-match court interview, bird droppings splattered on his wrist. “I just got pooped by a bird,” he laughed. “Is this a good chance? »

It’s no wonder Draper, 20, can see the positives. Ranked just outside the top 100, he performed decently on the grass, punching well above his weight. Draper reached the round of 16 at Queen’s, having beaten Indian Wells champion Taylor Fritz, and his latest upset against Schwartzman was equally impressive.

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After suffering some nerves while serving for the match, Draper recovered to play a clinical tiebreaker to clinch the win. He said his recent progress was partly due to muting the fiery side of his character, which was prone to excessive boiling during his junior career.

“When I was a junior and starting out in the pros, I was very agitated with my emotions,” he said. “I’d be on a bit of a rollercoaster and so it’s harder to stay in the moment. As you go up the levels playing against someone like Diego, those top players, they don’t give you those second chances. it’s up to me to make the difference.

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“I want to be one of the best players in the world, so I know I’m going to have to deal with all these emotions and pressures. But I feel like the only pressure I can put on myself is in my own head. as I continue to do the right things and improve, that’s all I can do.”

There was also a double win for her compatriot Harriet Dart, who took two wins in one day to reach the last eight. Dart’s second-round match against Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann was suspended on Tuesday due to poor light, so she was forced to see the decider on Wednesday morning, before returning to the court afterwards to face Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk in the next round.

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It turned into quite a battle, but Dart saw it off 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. It was another impressive victory for Dart, who is ranked 103rd in the world and also reached the quarter-finals at the Nottingham Open earlier this month. She will next face former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who ousted Britain’s Katie Boulter.

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