Jack Draper is into the quarter-finals of Sofia after a straight sets win over top seed Lorenzo Musetti. The Brit headed into this week’s tournament in good form having won the Bergamo Challenger and Draper has continued that form into the tournament in Sofia. However Draper’s latest landmark win wasn’t without its struggles as it was Musetti who made the more aggressive start as he broke with ease in the opening game.
The Italian’s mix of power and variety caught Draper off guard in the early stages as the top seed was winning the important points. However the Brit soon settled into his rhythm as the backhand was having more success as he found depth and power to trouble the backhand side of the Italian.
As the set wore on, Draper used the drop shot to force tactical errors from Musetti and the tactic would eventually work as his pressure on return paid off as he sealed the break in the eighth game with a world class forehand down the line on the run. The Brit had levelled the set at 4-4 and now had the momentum on his side as he continued to work the angles with the backhand.
In the end, Musetti couldn’t cope with Draper’s returning dominance as the Brit secured another break in the eleventh game as the Italian put his drop shot into the net which resulted in the opening set for Draper.
The second set saw the Italian start quickly but ultimately lacked ideas to consistent trouble Draper from the baseline. Too many unforced errors from Musetti gave Draper the confidence to continue powering his way past the Italian’s defence by using his backhand. A quick break lead was gained which nearly lead to a double break lead in the sixth game as Musetti struggled to power past Draper’s stubborn baseline game.
Eventually Draper would seal the second break of the set and the match as Musetti produced another forehand into the net. An excellent win for the Brit which sees him into the quarter-finals in Sofia as he continues to build momentum ahead of the Davis Cup quarter-finals.
Jack Draper v Cem Ilkel [WC] H2H & Match Fundamentals
Draper will look to continue his dominance on return especially given Ilkel’s poor form on pressure points on serve.
Playing Styles and Prediction
After a good start to the season, Ilkel has struggled for consistency and form on the Challenger circuit as he is playing his first ATP tour event of the season. Now Ilkel looks to earn the biggest win of his season as he looks for momentum heading into next season as he bids to enter the world’s top 250.
Draper will look to dominate on return as he aims to use a mixture of variety and power to make Ilkel work for every point. Meanwhile Ilkel will look to dominate on serve as he aims to come into the net as much as possible, neutralising Draper’s baseline power. Despite Ilkel’s high level of play this week, Draper should have too much power and consistency for the wildcard.
Prediction: Draper in straight sets.
Jan-Lennard Struff  def Billy Harris [Q] 7-6(5) 6-4
As Draper heads into the last eight it was heartbreak for British qualifier Billy Harris who lost in a resilient straight sets defeat to Jan-Lennard Struff. The previous day, the world number 221 stunned defending champion Marc-Andrea Huesler in a last set tiebreak but was no match for Struff in the second round.
The Brit went down an early break at 4-1 but broke Struff when the German was serving for the opening set at 5-4. However the German was just too strong when it mattered most as he edged the opening set tiebreak 7-5. However the German established control of the match at the start of the second set by breaking in the opening game and despite Harris’ impressive serving, Struff closed out the victory.
Despite the defeat, an impressive tournament for the Brit that will give him confidence that he belongs on the ATP tour heading into the 2024 season.
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