Jack’s back to set up battle of Brits
JACK DRAPER last night set up an all-British second-round clash against Dan Evans as he brushed aside a highly-rated contemporary in the Californian desert.
The 21-year-old southpaw will tackle his far more experienced compatriot at the Indian Wells Masters-level event after hammering Switzerland’s Leandro Riedi 6-1, 6-1 last night in just 55 minutes.
Evans was given a bye through the first round courtesy of his No 24 seeding and on this evidence he will have his hands full against Draper (below), who was imperious against the young Swiss, a player with some eye-catching wins of late. Riedi had come through qualifying, and should have been dangerous against Draper, given that the British No 4 has not played since acquitting himself honourably against Rafael Nadal in the first round of the Australian Open. Since that, Draper has been hit by nagging injuries to his leg and hip, and had not competed in seven weeks. That included a trip to Colombia, where he was overlooked in favour of Evans for the Davis Cup team.
Then it was on to Qatar, where he pulled out just before the first round. Instead of displaying any ring rust, he looked razor sharp, blunting his opponent’s powerful serve with excellent returns and never allowing him to get into the match. Riedi was broken six times in what was the first match that Draper has ever featured in at the desert venue.
Evans and Draper have never faced each other before in official competition, and the canny veteran will offer a different challenge with his mix of slices and angles. Evans travelled to America after withdrawing from his last tournament, Dubai, with ankle issues.
A sunny day at the self-styled ‘Tennis Paradise’ was due to see a bumper turnout of British players, with Emma Raducanu scheduled to face Danka Kovinic of Montenegro on the main stadium court. She was expected to be followed by Andy Murray, up against Argentina’s Tomas Etcheverry.