#NextGenATP Draper Sets Rublev Rematch In Washington
Three months ago, Rublev defeated Draper in a thrilling three-setter at the Mutua Madrid Open. They will meet again at the Citi Open after Draper eliminated American wild card Stefan Kozlov 7-5, 6-2 on Monday in Washington.
"I think Stefan plays a very awkward game. He's one of the guys who really disrupts your rhythm. The first four games of the match, I found it really hard to hit the court, actually. The conditions here, it's quite lively and you have to play with a bit more control," Draper said in his on-court interview. "I think I adjusted pretty well and in the end it became more of a physical battle out here in these conditions."
Draper lost the first three games of the match and almost went down a quick double break, but rallied past the home favourite in one hour and 53 minutes. The 20-year-old saved four of the five break points he faced and hit 10 aces in his victory.
The lefty is fifth in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Milan and trying to qualify for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals for the first time. Entering the season, he had won two tour-level matches. The Briton has claimed eight this year alone.
It would have been nine had he found a way past Rublev in Madrid, where the favourite triumphed 2-6, 6-4, 7-5. Now the #NextGenATP shot will have another go.
For Draper, this is all part of his process. He began the year No. 265 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and is at a career-high World No. 81.
"For me, I know I've got the tennis," Draper said. "It's just about developing my physicality and being able to mentally cope with these guys as well. I think I've got a lot to improve still."