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Jack Draper, Dan Evans ease into European Open second round

Jack Draper, Dan Evans ease into European Open second round

Great Britain’s Jack Draper and Dan Evans eased into the second round of the European Open with respective straight-sets wins in Antwerp.

The up-and-coming Draper was the first up of the Brits on centre court against Jenson Brooksby of the USA, and he eased to a 6-1 6-2 win in just over an hour.

The 20-year-old broke in the fourth and six games of the first set during a dominant performance, ultimately winning five games in a row to take the first set.

It was a near-identical story in the second set for Brooksby, who held in his opening service game before the sheer power and talent of Draper came to the fore again.

The Brit won another five games on the bounce – including a break to love for a 4-1 lead – and despite missing one match point, he sealed a 61-minute win with a fifth ace of the day.

“On my service games I was hitting my spots really well,” Draper said in his on-court interview. “I wasn’t missing many returns as well. Jenson is someone who competes really well, so I felt that it was important to get on the front foot and not let him play his game because he is so awkward. I am glad with the way I played.”

Draper – who hit a total of 17 winners on the day and posted just three unforced errors – will meet Polish first seed Hubert Hurkacz in the second round, where he will be joined by Evans.

Dan Evans pictured at the Canadian Open on August 13, 2022© Reuters

Evans travelled to Antwerp as the fifth seed and came up Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands, taking one hour and 20 minutes to storm to a 6-3 6-4 victory.

Not until the sixth game would the 32-year-old earned his vital first break, where Griekspoor missed two game points at 40-15 and went 4-2 down as Evans took his second break point.

Evans also found himself 30-0 down in the ninth game after Griekspoor had held to love beforehand, but the Brit won four points on the bounce to take the first set.

The fifth seed was then forced to fend off a Griekspoor break point in game six of the second set before breaking himself in the next game, and the Dutchman could not recover.

There were still a number of nervy moments for Evans to overcome, but he ultimately got the job done in straight sets to advance to round two.

Either Constant Lestienne or Jesper De Jong will do battle with Evans for the chance to play in the quarter-finals, where recently-crowned Firenze Open champion Felix Auger-Aliassime could await.

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