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The 20-year-old moved into the world’s top 100 for the first time on Monday after a strong start to the season – a win-loss ratio of 27-6 as well as four ATP Challenger titles in 2022.
And he seemed to be undeterred by the step up to an ATP 500 at the Cinch Championships as he beat No4 seed Taylor Fritz 6-3, 6-2.
Draper looked the far stronger and more experienced of the pair throughout the opening-round match, in which he won 91% of points on first serve and made just six unforced errors to the American’s 19. He rounded off the match with a second-serve ace.
Afterwards, the British No4 said: “I enjoyed my time out here. I haven’t played in front of this many people that often. The nerves were still here but I was glad the way I played today.”
Draper had announced himself in the men’s game at Queen’s a year ago where he beat both Alexander Bublik and Jannik Sinner before losing out to Cameron Norrie.
The British duo are joined in the Queen’s draw by a third Briton in Dan Evans, who faces Matteo Berrettini on Tuesday after the Italian beat Andy Murray in the final of the Stuttgart Open on Sunday, and Murray if he can prove his fitness.
Of the British contingent, Draper said: “I think British tennis is in a really exciting place at the moment. We’re in a really good place.”