Victories for Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans made it British five players through to the second round at the US Open but defending champion Emma Raducanu crashed out.
Norrie kept his focus amid wavering effort levels from unpredictable Frenchman Benoit Paire to win 6-0 7-6 (1) 6-0 while Evans produced a high-quality performance to defeat Czech Jiri Vesely 6-4 6-1 6-1.
After 10 British players made the second round at Wimbledon, the most since 1984, five is the joint best US Open since 1981 in terms of Britons through to round two.
But this year’s heroics in New York will not come from Raducanu, who fell 6-3 6-3 to Alize Cornet in blustery evening conditions.
Andy Murray, Harriet Dart and Jack Draper all won their matches on Monday, with the latter marking his highly anticipated debut with a straight-sets win over Emil Ruusuvuori to set up a clash against Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Draper is enjoying learning from his more experienced compatriots and the 20-year-old believes there has been a change in attitude towards British tennis.
“It’s fun having guys who you know and practise with and who support you,” he said. “As a nation now I feel like we’re being respected as having a lot of great tennis players. It’s exciting for sure, and as a young player as well I feed off their energy.”
The Lawn Tennis Association has set a goal of being one of the most respected nations for player development, but Evans is wary of too many pats on the back.
The 32-year-old has been a critic of the LTA in the past, and he fears the picture, certainly in the men’s game, is not as rosy as it may appear.
He said: “After Jack, what is there? There’s a gaping hole. Our best junior, Jack Pinnington-Jones, is going to university. Jack was funded very well and he’s done (things) his way and that’s one but there were other people as well – you can’t say it’s money well spent.
“It’s in a good spot, I’m not saying it’s not, but we need some more I think. If we start saying we’re doing really well, we’ll rest on our laurels.”
Whether other young players come through to join him or not, it appears Draper has all the tools to get to the top of the game.
He is already on the verge of breaking into the top 50 having climbed more than 200 places since the start of the season and has the belief to match his considerable talents.
Emma Raducanu could remain British No 1 despite 50+ place rankings drop
Draper, who claimed his first top-10 win in Montreal earlier this month with victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas, said of taking on sixth seed Auger-Aliassime: “I have had a lot of confidence boosters in the last few weeks and months now.
“I fear no one going into this tournament. Anyone I play against, I believe I can win. But obviously it’s going to be a very tough match. He is top 10 for a reason. He is a great player.
“He can take the racket out of your hand. So hopefully we play a good match. I don’t know too much about him – I have never hit with him or played him ever. It will be good to go out and play against him.”
Murray will look to reach the third round here for the first time since 2016 while Dart’s reward for the best victory of her career over Daria Kasatkina is a second-round date with Hungary’s Dalma Galfi.
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