Draper sends Alcaraz message before Indian Wells tie after Murray win

Andy Murray discusses Battle of the Brits competition in 2022

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Jack Draper is relishing another ‘real battle’ against top seed Carlos Alcaraz at Indian Wells after pulling off a surprise victory over Andy Murray. The Briton defeated his long-time practice partner in straight sets to advance to the next round and faces another fascinating test against one-time Grand Slam winner Alcaraz on Tuesday at Stadium 1.

The world No.56 set up a clash with the current US Open champion after beating Murray 7-6(6), 6-2, becoming the third player to down the veteran Scot in straight sets this season after Roberto Bautista Agut and Daniil Medvedev.

Draper was in inspired form against his mentor, thundering home a whopping 31 winners and produced only 12 unforced errors to cap an impressive display and paid tribute to the 35-year-old, who he has been close allies with since turning professional.

“I’ve looked up to Andy since I was so young. I watched him win Wimbledon for the first time in 2013 and then I’ve had the opportunity to get to know him and practice with him often since 2019,” he said about Murray. “He’s a really special person, a great champion, great human being and I’m privileged to play against him on this court.”

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His attention will now turn to preparing to face Alcaraz, who has only lost once in 10 matches on the ATP Tour this season – the Rio de Janeiro Open final against Cameron Norrie. And Draper is under no illusions that he will need to be at his best level to compete against the No 1 seed.

“Carlos is another level up, he’s been No 1 in the world, had an exceptional year last year, so it would be amazing to play him again in another real battle,” Draper said in his post-match interview.

He has also previously beaten top-10 players such as Stefanos Tsitsipas and Felix Auger-Aliassime, but faces his toughest test so far in 2023 as he faces up against the Spaniard.

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The 19-year-old overcame Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor in his third round match, prevailing 7-6(4), 6-3 to set up a second encounter with Draper after the pair locked horns at the Swiss Indoors event, with Alcaraz edging out a tightly-contested three-setter.

Alcaraz, who can reclaim top spot in the ATP rankings if he wins the tournament in California, pointed to his wins over fellow Brits Murray and Dan Evans as examples of how good Draper has become in recent months.

“I know he’s a really good player. He’s playing well. He has beaten great opponents like Evans and Andy,” he said in his press conference.

“I know that I’m going to have to play my best, give my 100% on the court. It’s going to be a really tough match and I am going to enjoy it.”

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