Jack Draper in the second round of the 2022 US Open, New York
Jack Draper in the second round of the 2022 US Open, New York | (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Tennis | ATP Sofia 2023 | Draper cruises past Ilkel to seal semi-final berth against Struff

By Tony Fairbairn

  • Jack Draper def Cem Ilkel [WC] 6-2 6-2
  • Draper v Jan-Lennard Struff [3] | H2H: First Meeting
SOFIA, BULGARIA – Jack Draper cruised past Turkish wildcard Cem Ilkel in straight sets to seal a place in the semi-finals in Sofia where he will face third seed Jan-Lennard Struff.


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Jack Draper def Cem Ilkel [WC] 6-2 6-2

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Jack Draper is into the semi-finals in Sofia after a comfortable win over wildcard Cem Ilkel. The Brit remained patient in the opening stages of the match as he used the backhand to produce passive shots from Ilkel before producing a big winner to end the rally. However it was Draper’s variety that earned him the first break of the match as he took a 2-0 lead with a successful dropshot.

Eventually Ilkel settled into his baseline game with the wildcard looking confident on the forehand side as he eventually held in the fourth game grinding down Draper’s game. There was no real threat on return from Ilkel though as the Brit continued to move the world number 259 from side to side. The world number 82’s dominance was rewarded as he cruised through the next two games to seal a comfortable opening set in 37 minutes.

In the second set, Ilkel fended off early attacking pressure from Draper with some stunning forehands from the baseline as he saved two break points to hold for 1-1. The resistance didn’t last long though as Draper’s consistent power was too much for Ilkel as the Brit broke and held to take a dominant 4-1 lead.

There was a late surge in pressure from Ilkel but ultimately it was another impressive performance from Draper as he sealed his spot in the semi-finals in Sofia, which is his second ATP tour semi-final of the season.


Jack Draper v Jan-Lennard Struff [3] H2H & Match Fundamentals

Jack Draper v Jan-Lennard Struff [3] H2H: First Meeting
ATP Sofia 2023 Sofia, Bulgaria
Indoor Hard Prize Money: €29,335
Third on Center Court (Not before 14:00 GMT) TennisTV <- Subscription Required

Draper will look to reach a first ATP tour final of the season when he takes on Jan-Lennard Struff in the last four.


Tale of the Tape – Key Stats (2023)

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H2H: Jack Draper (WR 82) Jan-Lennard Struff (WR 28)
Tournament Previous Best N/A Quarter-Final (2022)
1st Serve % 59.7 58.9
Service Games Won % 85.1 83.8
Break Points Saved % 69.9 67
2nd Serve Return Points Won % 53.1 50.3
Break Points Converted % 44.9 42.9

Draper will look to be proactive on return as he looks to neutralize the effective and efficient serving of Struff.



Playing Styles and Prediction

An incredible first half of the season was followed by a second half of the season full of injuries and lack of confidence for Struff. However there have been plenty of positives for the German to take from the season and now the German will look to secure an Australian Open seeding by going all the way in Bulgaria.

Draper will look to use his backhand to force errors from Struff’s game as the Brit will look to use a mixture of depth and variety in order to be successful. Meanwhile Struff will aim to dictate play on serve as he will look to use his forehand and net skills to win the majority of the long rallies. This will be a stern test for Draper but the Brit’s recent confidence and form suggests that he should record another impressive victory.

Prediction: Draper in three sets.



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