Draper Digs In To Reach First Grand Slam Fourth Round
One year after breaking through with a run to the third round at Flushing Meadows, the British lefty has gone one step further. Draper on Saturday defeated Michael Mmoh 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 to reach the fourth round at the season’s final major.
Not only has the 21-year-old advanced deeper at a Grand Slam tournament than he ever has before, but he has done so without finding himself in much difficulty. The No. 123 player in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings has lost just one set in victories against Radu Albot, 17th seed Hubert Hurkacz and Mmoh.
After retiring in the first round at Roland Garros this year, Draper missed two and a half months due to a shoulder injury. The lefty returned in the third week of August at an ATP Challenger Tour event and then competed in Winston-Salem the week before the US Open.
But it is in New York that Draper has found his form. Mmoh rallied from two sets down in his second-round match against John Isner, who was competing in the final tournament of his career. The American engaged the Grandstand crowd to try to turn the tide again.
But Draper’s game was too big on the day. The 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals competitor relied on his heavier groundstrokes to continuously put pressure on his opponent and triumph after three hours and three minutes. The lefty hit 51 winners compared to 28 for his opponent.
This was Draper's first win in a match that went longer than three sets. His first five triumphs at majors came in straight sets.
Did You Know?
Draper has defended his third-round US Open points from 2022 and by reaching the fourth round has climbed to No. 105 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.