In his first match since his breakthrough quarter-final run at the Montreal ATP Masters 1000, #NextGenATP Briton Jack Draper claimed another statement win on Tuesday at the Winston-Salem Open.
The 20-year-old outlasted Fabio Fognini 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 to set up a third-round showdown with Dominic Thiem, who moved past top seed Grigor Dimitrov after the Bulgarian's second-set retirement.
Draper, seeded 13th, ran out to a 5-0 lead in the final set, but had to save seven break points in doing so. After he escaped 15/40 in the set's opening game, he erased five break chances in a five-deuce fifth game, the longest of the two-hour match. The Briton saved 10 of 13 break points in the contest while breaking on six of 10 chances on return.
Entering the week at a career-high of No. 55 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, Draper moved up three places in the Live Rankings to No. 52 following his opening victory. He could enter the Top 40 by winning his first tour-level title this week.
After saving two match point against J.J. Wolf on Monday night, Thiem made a sluggish start against Dimitrov before finding his legs in the second set. But as the Austrian raised his game, his opponent faded physically and was ultimately forced to retire while leading 6-0, 2-4.
"The most important [thing] today is that Grigor gets well very soon again," Thiem said post-match. "The match is not the priority; that's never the way I want to win a match, especially against Grigor."
🇦🇹 @domithiem advances to the next round at the #WSOpen after Grigor Dimitrov is forced to retire.— ATP Tour (@atptour) August 24, 2022
That hug says it all 😞@WSOpen pic.twitter.com/v2ji39bw8i
After failing to conver from 0/40 in the opening game of the match, Thiem lost seven straight games before a love service hold got him back on track in the second set.
"Playing-wise it was very tough in the first set," he said. "I had a good start actually, and then he somehow broke and it was really difficult.
"I could pick up a little bit my intensity better [in the second set].Yesterday was really tough, over three hours. I finished late, I got to bed at 3:30 and then it was not easy to get the intensity straight up again. It's very humid, you lose a lot of liquid here, a lot of sweat. So that's tough and I was not able to have my intensity straight away, but in the second set it got a little bit better."
Second seed Botic van de Zandschulp closed play on the stadium court with a 7-6(5), 6-3 win against fellow Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor. He will next face 15th seed Jaume Munar, a 6-3, 6-4 winner against Tseng Chun-Hsin.
Other seeded players to advance included Maxime Cressy, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Benjamin Bonzi and Ilya Ivashka. Laslo Djere upset 19th seed Joao Sousa in dramatic fashion, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(5).