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Wimbledon 2024: Jack Draper holds nerve to reach second round

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Jack Draper delighted the Wimbledon home crowd Tuesday as he dug deep to beat Elias Ymer 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in his first-round match on what was a drama-filled day for British players at the championships.

In total, 11 Brits took to the courts at the All England Club, with the the 22-year-old Draper, who is ranked first among the nation’s men’s players, regarded as the headline attraction.

He seemed nerveless on Centre Court in the opening game as he took a 30-15 lead with a skillful drop shot before going on to break Ymer.

But Ymer responded quickly as he took charge of the first set and quieted the home support who had come hoping to see Draper take on the baton from Andy Murray as the next star of British men’s tennis.

It seemed as if the crowd’s wish would be granted after the match swung back in Draper’s favour as the Brit found his rhythm midway through the second set. However, Ymer seemed determined to make Draper work hard for his win.

Draper earned an eye-catching victory over Carlos Alcaraz at Queen’s on June 20 and, while he failed to produce a similar level of performance in south west London, the left-hander showed a different side to his game against the world No. 206.

He battled through a competitive fourth set in which momentum swung between both players, before Ymer took control, causing Draper to smash his racket repeatedly onto his bag ahead of the deciding game.

A short break while the roof was closed on Centre Court seemed to refocus Draper for the final set as he finally edged past his Swedish adversary. Draper will face fellow Brit Cameron Norrie in the second round after he emerged victorious from his match with Argentine Facundo Diaz Acosta.

Asked about the support he received throughout the contest, Draper told the BBC: “You guys [the fans on Centre Court] were incredible. I love playing in front of loads of people and just thank you honestly, it really helped me out here. There were some nervy moments and, yeah, I just appreciate all the support, it means a lot.”

Katie Boulter came through a testing opening match of her own as she beat Tatjana Maria 7-6 (6), 7-5 to set up the second all-British clash of the second round where she will face compatriot Harriet Dart.

Boulter, who is seeded (No. 32) for the first time at this year’s championships, struggled to find her rhythm in the first set, making 15 unforced errors in the opening eight games alone.

However, the British women’s No. 1 persevered and took the…

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