Jack Draper reached the first ATP Tour final of his career this Friday, beating German Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3, 6-4 under the cover of the Sofia Open. The Londoner has crossed the Bulgarian ATP 250 table with formidable force to place himself in the fight for the trophy without giving up a round all week.
The Briton, just 21 years old, imposed aggressive tennis to sign one of the most emotional victories of his career. His 10 direct serves allowed him to mark the territory against one of the most experienced players on the squad. Draper has a streak of nine consecutive wins after winning the ATP Challenger Tour in Bergamo indoors last week.
“He is a player who has had a spectacular year, he has won many games. I have had to make the most of myself and I am proud of my performance,” said Draper. “I had reached a couple of semi-finals, falling short. Above all, after the year of injuries, I wanted to come back strong. I have achieved it and my game is in a good moment.”
The progress in Sofia allows Draper to rise 22 places to No. 61 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings. If he wins his first title in the Bulgarian ATP 250, the Briton could close a season in the world Top 50 for the first time in his sporting career.
Draper’s victory had special significance on a national level. Jack became the youngest Briton to reach an ATP Tour final since Andy Murray (21) reached his first final on the tour at the ATP Masters 1000 in Miami in the 2009 season.
The left-hander, who had reached the semifinals of Eastbourne (2022) and Adelaide (2023), will face Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in an unprecedented duel in Saturday’s final.
Mannarino beat Pavel Kotov 6-2, 7-6(2) to fight for the third ATP Tour trophy of his career. The second seed, who holds a personal record of 42 victories this year, saved the only break point faced to reach his fourth final of the 2023 season. The current world No. 25 lifted the Newport and Astana titles this year.
Did you know…?
Jack Draper will try to become the fifth player capable of lifting his first ATP Tour trophy in individual mode in the 2023 season. The Briton aspires to follow in the footsteps of the Dutch Tallon Griekspoor (Pune), the Chinese Yibing Wu (Dallas), the Frenchman Arthur Fils (France), the American Christopher Eubanks (Mallorca) and the Argentine Pedro Cachín (Gstaad).