Jack Draper and Jacob Fearnley win as British tennis looks to the future

Jack Draper paid homage to Andy Murray with a five-set battle under the Centre Court roof while debutant Jacob Fearnley set up a second-round clash against Novak Djokovic.

Rarely can a passing-the-torch moment have been so glaring as when Murray’s withdrawal saw new British number one Draper promoted to the main stage for his match against qualifier Elias Ymer.

It looked a kind draw for the 22-year-old, the most exciting talent in British men’s tennis since Murray, but he was pushed all the way by Swede Ymer before finally winning 3-6 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-3.

Jack Draper celebrates his victory
Jack Draper celebrates his victory (Mike Egerton/PA)

Wimbledon fans have become all too used to such rollercoasters in nearly 20 years watching Murray, and Draper said with a smile: “You probably wanted to see Andy out here but you were stuck with me instead.

“What an honour. I wouldn’t be here without Andy. What a competitor, what a champion, and thank you very much.”

Draper next faces his immediate predecessor as British number one, Cameron Norrie, who has been struggling badly for form but saw off Argentina’s Facundo Diaz Acosta 7-5 7-5 6-3.

Fearnley was helping his college team to the national title in the United States a month ago but a whirlwind few weeks has seen him burst into the top 300 in the rankings and earn his first victory at Wimbledon.

The 22-year-old Scot won the Challenger title in Nottingham as a qualifier last month to earn a wild card into the main draw here, and an epic third-set tie-break saw him beat Alejandro Moro Canas 7-5 6-4 7-6 (12).

Jacob Fearnley celebrates winning a point by pumping his fist
Jacob Fearnley set up a second-round meeting with Novak Djokovic (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

Fearnley could well find himself on Centre Court next for his encounter with seven-time champion Djokovic.

“It’s a bit crazy, for sure,” said Fearnley. “Obviously it’s come very unexpectedly. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t watching the scores on Centre Court. It was getting in my head a little bit that I was going to have to play him.

“It’s going to be a little bit intimidating, but it’s a match that I’m super excited for. It’s the biggest match of my career so far. Just to be able to share the court with a player like that will be really special.”

There will also be an all-British second-round meeting in the women’s draw, where Katie Boulter will take on Harriet Dart.

British number one Boulter, who has made the third round the last two years, had a real battle with former semi-finalist Tatjana Maria before coming through 7-6 (6) 7-5.

Katie Boulter makes a heart shape with her hands
Katie Boulter overcame a tricky first-round match (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Boulter holds a 6-1 lead over Dart, who eased to a 6-4 6-0 win against Bai Zhuoxuan, including a three-hour victory in Nottingham last month.

“Playing a Brit in the UK on the grass is never an easy draw and I’m expecting an absolute battle,” said Boulter. “I think we both know each other’s games inside-out, back-to-front at this point.”

Five British victories in the first round of the women’s singles is the most here since 1987, but Fran Jones was unable to join them, the 23-year-old afflicted by cramp in a 3-6 6-1 6-2 loss to Croatia’s Petra Martic.

In the men’s draw, there were agonising five-set losses for Paul Jubb and Jan Choinski.

Paul Jubb looks dejected
Paul Jubb had a match point in his defeat (John Walton/PA)

Jubb led Thiago Seyboth Wild by two sets and a break and had a match point in the third-set tie-break but the Brazilian turned things around to win 1-6 3-6 7-6 (6) 6-4 7-5.

Choinski, meanwhile, was two-sets-to-one up on Luciano Darderi but fell to a 7-5 4-6 2-6 7-5 6-2 defeat.

Last year’s junior champion Henry Searle acquitted himself well in a 3-6 6-3 6-4 6-4 loss to American Marcos Giron, while Billy Harris’ breakthrough grass-court season ended with a 6-4 6-4 3-6 6-3 defeat by Spain’s Jaume Munar.

Dan Evans inspects the bottom of his trainer
Dan Evans will return on Wednesday (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Dan Evans’ clash with Alejandro Tabilo was suspended for bad light with the British player trailing 6-2 3-3.

Evans, who was a doubt for Wimbledon after injuring his knee in a fall at Queen’s Club, was unhappy with the dewy conditions, telling the supervisor: “You don’t care about the players,” before play was eventually called off.

Emma Raducanu takes to Court One on Wednesday for her second-round match against Elise Mertens, while Sonay Kartal and Yuriko Miyazaki will also be looking to reach the last 32.