US Open 2023: Jack Draper storms into the Round of 16 in New York
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Jack Draper is through to the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career after another dominant win over Michaeel Mmoh, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in three hours and six minutes.
The British No.5 – who was unsure whether he’d be able to compete at this year’s US Open after suffering a shoulder injury that kept him out of the grass court season – has already made a strong statement in New York this week after knocking out 17th seed Hubert Hurkacz.
His third round victory now sees Draper become the 12th different British man in the Open Era to reach the last 16 of the US Open, joining the likes of Peter Curtis, Roger Taylor, John Lloyd, Tim Henman, Greg Rusedski and Andy Murray.
Draper now moves on to face the winner of Arthur Rinderknech and Andrey Rublev in Monday’s round of 16 clash.
Speaking in his on court interview, Draper expressed his happiness of reaching another milestone and staying composed during a tough encounter.
“I’m incredibly proud of myself” Draper said. “It’s been a tough year all round but to come here and be in the fourth round, I’m so happy.
"It’s been a rough one for me so I’m happy with the way I came out here today."
“These five set matches aren’t easy. You win the first couple of sets and it feels fairly convincing and then he starts picking up his level after a little break and the momentum really changes."
“It’s been a long match and I had physical struggles on this court last year but to come out here and win my first four set match at a Grand Slam, you know I’m still so new to these tournaments so it’s a real positive for me to come out and do what I did - hopefully I can carry on."
Stepping on to court in a bid to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career, Draper looked too pick up where he left off in his second round match against Hurkacz.
A strong start saw Draper clinch back-to-back love holds before finding the only breakthrough of the opener and securing the first set with a thundering forehand winner down the line.
Into the second they went and the Brit continued to work his way through the gears, displaying his big-serve and aggressive brand of tennis as he raced to a 4-0 lead against the American and closed in on the set in just 44 minutes.
With the finish line in touching distance for Draper, Mmoh looked to pull off his second consecutive comeback win of the tournament from two sets down. With nothing to lose going into the third, the world No.89 took his chance when presented with a break point on the Brit's first service game and eventually etched an all-important set on the scoreboard.
Eager to not make the same mistake twice, Draper continued to strike with power and precision as he racked up a total of 54 winners. Sensing a real opportunity at 3-2 in the fourth, the British No.5 forced the vital break point to take the edge.
With the pressure firmly on his shoulders and he stepped up to the baseline to serve it out for the set, Draper held his nerve as he fended off a break point before securing his ticket to the last 16 in style with a backhand volley at the net.