British No 1 Jack Draper beats reigning Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz at Queen's in straight sets... days after claiming his first ATP Tour title

The summer of Jack continues as the British No1 scored the biggest win of his life, ending Carlos Alcaraz’s defence of the cinch Championships.

World No 2 Alcaraz was on a 13-match unbeaten streak on grass, having also won Wimbledon last year, but Draper played with poise, precision and – crucially – aggression to win 7-6, 6-3 at the Queen’s Club.

The 22-year-old had never before beaten a player ranked in the world’s top four and in snapping Alcaraz’s streak Draper extended his own: he is unbeaten in seven matches on the lawns after winning the Stuttgart title. His process of developing a new ultra-attacking style has been a painful one but it has come to fruition just in time for Wimbledon.

He faced only a single break point and hit eight aces. He will be favourite to beat Tommy Paul in the quarter-finals on Friday.

On a 22oC day – the best weather of the week here in Baron’s Court – a quick grass court played even quicker and it took until the 17th game for there to be a break point.

Jack Draper (above) has pulled off an astonishing upset by beating world No 2 Carlos Alcaraz

Jack Draper (above) has pulled off an astonishing upset by beating world No 2 Carlos Alcaraz

Alcaraz, who won Wimbledon last year, suffered a shock loss to the new Brit No 1 on Thursday

Alcaraz, who won Wimbledon last year, suffered a shock loss to the new Brit No 1 on Thursday

These two know each other well, first meetings as teenagers in 2019 when they played an exhibition match at the Royal Albert Hall. Draper partnered Tim Henman, Alcaraz was with his coach and mentor Juan Carlos Ferrero. Watching that match back, the youngsters’ natural gifts are clear to see: Draper’s easy power, Alcaraz’s extraordinary all-court wizardry.

Alcaraz won their two previous senior meetings but he was partying away in Ibiza to celebrate his Roland Garros victory last week while Draper was winning the first title of his career on the Stuttgart grass. That is quite the gulf in preparation and while the Spaniard played well enough here he was far below his best, and threw in a stinker of a tiebreak in the first set. The 21-year-old will be much improved by the time the defence of his Wimbledon title begins.

Draper, under the guidance of new coach Wayne Ferreira, has been developing an attacking style to befit his 6ft 4in stature. He looked like a lost boy at times during the clay season, but everything came together with that title in Stuttgart and now he doesn’t just look like a man; he looks like the (italics) man.

Draper’s biggest motivation in changing his approach is to improve his chances against the very top players: he had lost his last eight matches against top-10 players until now.

And he showed that aggressive intent in a first set dominated by serve, playing a flawless tiebreak, taking it 7-3.

Alcaraz was – unusually for him – shouting at his box early in the second set. He had not lost a match since April in Madrid and did not intend to start now.

But a first break point of the match arrived on the Alcaraz serve at 2-3 and Draper punched a backhand return winner. How satisfying that must have been for Ferreira to watch his pupil go for broke on a ball that a year ago he may just have pushed back into play.

Draper has developed an attacking style under the guidance of new coach Wayne Ferreira

Draper has developed an attacking style under the guidance of new coach Wayne Ferreira

Alcaraz came at him hard in the next game and forced a break point of his own, but on the pressure points Draper twice serve-volleyed and hit a pair of ugly but highly effective two-handed half-volley drop shots. The Queen’s Club crowd, basking in the sun, were positively cooing by now.

Alcaraz mounted a rearguard, holding from two match points down at 2-5 and then going 30-0 up on the Draper serve. But Draper stuck to his big guns and won four points in a row to take the match.

He is the first British player to beat a top-two-ranked player on grass since Andy Murray beat Novak Djokovic in the 2013 Wimbledon final.

What a performance this was. And what a turnaround from a first-round French Open defeat to qualifier Jesper de Jong. Draper hasn’t lost since – and looks unlikely to do so this week. Title No2 might be arriving hot on the heels of No1.

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