Jack Draper upsets Felix Auger-Aliassime in US Open second round

·3-min read

Jack Draper launched himself into the big time by upsetting sixth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime in the second round of the US Open.

The 20-year-old Londoner has established himself as one of the game’s most exciting young talents this year and he went into Wednesday night’s match against Auger-Aliassime fully believing he could win.

He backed that up spectacularly, taking control of the contest from the first game and never letting up in a 6-4 6-4 6-4 success that will see him break into the top 50 for the first time.

It is clear he can go a lot higher than that, though – Draper has already talked about wanting to emulate his friend Emma Raducanu – and this was a superb display of aggressive hitting and poise on one of the sport’s biggest stages.

“It was a tough match,” said Draper. “He’s obviously a top player for a reason. Someone I’ve been watching for the last few years, wanting a chance to play against him.

“To beat him in a grand slam is obviously a great achievement for myself. I’m proud of the way I performed out there today.

“All the hard work that I’ve put in the last few years is for these moments. Obviously, (for) myself it means a lot too, but (for) all the people around me that support me on a daily basis, that go through the highs and lows with me, this is a great moment.

“I’m proud of the way my body held up as well. I felt mentally, physically, in a good place. Not so easy against someone as physical as Felix. A lot of emotions. I’m obviously happy with myself.”

Draper had threatened a big result at Wimbledon when he led Alex De Minaur by a set before fading physically, but, such is the rate of his improvement, two months already seems like a long time ago.

Since then he has beaten Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach his first ATP Masters quarter-final in Montreal and posted his first slam victory outside of Wimbledon against Emil Ruusuvuori in round one.

Auger-Aliassime, a semi-finalist here 12 months ago, made a nervous start and Draper pounced with a break in the opening game.

Felix Auger-Aliassime had no answer to Jack Draper
Felix Auger-Aliassime had no answer to Jack Draper (Julia Nikhinson/AP)

He had chances to move further ahead but then showed a cool head and some outstanding powers of defence to clinch the set after coming under pressure for the first time.

On the whole, Draper’s big serve was keeping him at arm’s length, though, and that was the only game in the match in which he faced break points.

What is so impressive about Draper is his all-round abilities. The big serve and forehand are his obvious weapons but he is comfortable coming to the net and his movement has improved exponentially in the last year.

A stunning backhand pass threaded down the line gave the British number four a break for 4-3 in the second set and he was at it again in the fifth game of the third, Auger-Aliassime left helpless this time by a cross-court dink.

Draper could have been forgiven for a few nerves stepping out to serve for the biggest win of his life but instead he raced across the finish line to set up a clash with 27th seed Karen Khachanov.