Jack Draper into Adelaide semis, reaches a new career-high, gets plum Rafael Nadal draw – ‘It’ll be special’

Jack Draper applauding Credit: Alamy
Jack Draper applauding Credit: Alamy

Friday was a brilliant day for Jack Draper as he reached his second ATP semi-final and as a result will climb to a new career-high in the rankings, but that was not where the fun ended as he was also awarded a first-round Australian Open clash against Rafael Nadal.

Draper booked his place in the Adelaide International 2 last four as he claimed his second win over a seeded player at the ATP 250 event, this time defeating third seed Karen Kachanov.

The 20-year-old beat eighth seed Tommy Paul in the second round and followed it up with 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) victory over Kachanov on Friday.

He broke in game three of the opening set and then edged ahead with a break in game five of the second set, but the world No 20 drew level as he hit back in game 10.

Draper then claimed two mini-breaks to win the tie-breaker and the match.

“In the last game I got a bit nervous, but that’s part of the game,” he said after the win. “I’m still young, I’m still learning from these things.”

He is up to a career-high of No 38 in the Live ATP Rankings on the back of the result having started the year at No 42 and he could move up a few more spots if he beats South Korea’s Soonwoo Kwon in the last eight. Soonwoo defeated Mikel Ymer 6-1, 6-2 in his quarter-final encounter.

Draper will make his Australian Open debut next week and was has been handed a mouthwatering first-round draw as he will face defending champion Nadal first up.

It will be his second time in his career that he faces a defending champion at Grand Slam as he took on Novak Djokovic in his 2021 Wimbledon opener, taking a set off the defending champion as he went down in four.

“It’ll be amazing to play on court with him, he’s a great champion,” the British No 3 said of Nadal. “[There are] a lot of emotions obviously when I think of playing him, but that’s one thing, I’ve still got to go and play tomorrow and hopefully do well in this tournament first.

“Whatever happens, it’ll be a special occasion for me, still very young in my career, so it’s great to have these sort of experiences and exposure to playing someone like Rafa on a big court like that. But I want to play really well and I want to compete hard and do the best I can.”

READ MORE: ATP Tour: Holger Rune and Jack Draper among seven players under 25 to watch in 2023

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