'Rafael Nadal Had A Difficult End To The Season Because...', Says Former Star

‘Rafael Nadal had a difficult season finale because…’, says former star

Jack Draper was beaten a week ago at the Adelaide International 1 by Karen Khachanov in straight sets. And this Thursday he was able to beat him thanks to a brilliant performance at the Adelaide International 2 for quick revenge.

The 21-year-old Briton’s 6-4, 7-6(3) triumph allows him to qualify for the second time in the semifinals of the ATP Tour. The No. 40 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings saved the only break point he faced until serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set.

The frustration was short-lived and he was finally able to close out the one hour and 45 minute match on tie-break. «At 5-4 I got a little nervous, but that’s part of the game,» the lefty said in his on-court interview. «I’m still young, I’m still learning about these things.» Khachenov had beaten Draper seven days earlier in Adelaide, but the 21-year-old Briton turned the tables impressively, leading to his third victory over a top-20 ranked opponent.

Today’s victory followed victories over Stefanos Tsitsipas in Montreal and Felix Auger-Aliassime at the US Open. Draper raised his ranking from World No. 262 to No. 40 in a breakout season in 2022, the Adelaide semi-final marking his third ATP semi-final appearance in the past six months.

“Against guys like Karen, you can’t give them an inch. Otherwise they run away,” Draper said after earning his first ATP Head2Head win in three tries against Khachanov. A few minutes after his victory, it was learned that the British would be Rafael Nadal’s first opponent in the first round of the Australian Open.

Draper entered this week with a career-high ranking in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. One more win would see him move up to at least 38th in the standings. The lefty will be the favorite in his semifinal duel against South Korea’s Soonwoo Kwon, who beat Sweden’s Mikael Ymer 6-1, 6-2.

Nadal will debut against Draper

As always at the Eurosport microphone, Justine Henin placed Rafael Nadal among the contenders for the title at the Australian Open despite his current state of form because the man with 22 Grand Slam titles has shown throughout his career and still more these years that could surprise all observers.

“Today everyone has a lot of questions about Rafael Nadal, who continues to find resources year after year. Rafa said that he was not in a rebuilding phase and it should not be exaggerated either, but he had a difficult end of the season when he became a father.

Last year we were surprised. Will he be able to do it again when we know that it is the Grand Slam that has always been the most difficult for him? He did it last year.»

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