Jack Draper held out despite a strong start from Chun-Hsin Tseng on Wednesday at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals, where the Briton completed a 1-4, 4-2, 4-3(2), 4-2. round win.
It was a crucial win for the 20-year-old as he tries to advance to the semi-finals on his debut season finale aged 21 and under. Draper now holds a 1-1 record in Red Group and he was delighted with the way he had bounced back against Tseng after falling to Dominic Stricker in his opening match.
“I thought Stricker played a great game yesterday, so all credit to him,” Draper said after his 93-minute win against Tseng. “I may not have been at my best but I thought he played an exceptionally good game so it was hard to go to sleep last night knowing I was playing well and still losing.
“Today I knew it was going to be a really tough game and I came out a little slow, but I had a good talk with myself and really tried to find a way. I was able to do that today, so I’m very happy.”
A quick opening allowed Tseng to hit the ball more consistently than Draper in the first tour-level encounter. The 21-year-old from Chinese Taipei remained solid to nullify his opponent’s strength, taking the lone break of a 17-minute first set when the faster shot clock (just 15 seconds if the server has an ace, a double foul, or if the missing the return due to a forced or unforced foul) contributed to the intense speed of the match.
However, Draper found rhythm behind his big lefty forehand at the start of the second set and then became the dominant weapon in the match. The Briton killed 19 winners, including six aces, as his superior strength was ultimately the deciding factor.
“It’s a fast format, so you have to be sharp,” Draper said. “When I sat down at the end of the first set for the change of half, I really had a good time. I said, ‘You’ve got to be sharper, you’ve got to be more turned on and you’ve got to be alert here,’ because it can go really fast if you’re not quite there. So I’m glad I turned things around mentally.”
Draper’s win opens the door for Lorenzo Musetti to secure his spot in the semi-finals on Wednesday night. The home favorite will face Dominic Stricker in the final game of the day at the Allianz Cloud, where he can seal his progress from the round-robin stage with a straight-sets win against the Swiss.