Eastbourne | Cressy ends Draper’s run

Jack Draper fought for two hours and 41 minutes but simply couldn’t prevent Maxime Cressy from claiming his third successive victory over a Briton to advance to the Rothesay International final in Eastbourne.

Three games in a row (against British players), it gets tough! I hope you (turning to the crowd) are for me tomorrow Maxime Cressy

In what turned out to be a close competition, the semi-final was a bit of a rollercoaster with just one break of serve enough for the American serve and volley to get through 7-7 (5) 6-7 (2) 6 -3.

The French-born American, who beat top two British players Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans in previous rounds, will face fellow 2019 winner Taylor Fritz who beat defending Australian champion Alex de Minaur 6 -1 6-7( 5) 6-3 in the other semi-final.

Disappointment for Draper, 20, who was making his Eastbourne debut and was looking to become the first Briton to reach the final at Devonshire Park since 2009, the year men started competing there.

Jack Draper congratulates Maxime Cressy on his victory

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Supported by a home crowd in the afternoon sun, the Surrey youngster acquitted himself well against an opponent displaying an aggressive attacking game unlike the one he was used to playing against, namely a powerful serve supported by very powerful and efficient volleys.

But there was little to separate them as they battled for control and split the opening two sets without conceding a serve with Draper heavily in contention throughout, saving four break points in the opening set. , then failing to convert one of his own in the 10th game of the second that would have given him the set. It turned out that he then secured it in the second tie-break of the game.

In the decider, the tussle continued and it was the 25-year-old Los Angeles player who finally got the crucial and decisive break to go 4-2, which allowed Draper to release his frustration in smashing a ball into the crowd and while he fought hard to equalise, Cressy was able to keep pressing to almost earn a second break before claiming victory when Draper failed to convert three break points as he was serving for the game.

When asked how he felt after this marathon, Cressy replied: “It’s a roller coaster, I don’t know, it’s hard to describe the feeling.

“I feel a lot of relief after this game, but I’m incredibly happy and delighted to be in the final.

“Three games in a row (against British players), it gets tough! I hope you (turning to the crowd) are for me tomorrow.

“Sorry guys, I apologize for this week, I know I lost all the Brits but thank you for the fantastic atmosphere here and nevertheless I am very grateful to you.”

It was the first time Draper was forced to play all three sets after finishing his previous three matches en route to the final in straight sets.

For Cressy, the final will be his second on the Tour, but his first on grass and further success over fellow countryman, third seed Fritz, could propel him into the top 50 of the world rankings from his current position of 63. .

Despite the loss, Draper’s efforts at Eastbourne mark a career-best week for the British No. 4 which should see him start his Wimbledon fortnight ranked in the World Top 100 after slipping to 108 last week.

Taylor Fritz raises his arms after defeating the defending champion

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