Jack Draper and Katie Boulter target Wimbledon seeding after Melbourne exits

By Sports Desk January 18, 2024

Jack Draper and Katie Boulter have set their sights on being seeded for Wimbledon after losing in the second round of the Australian Open.

Both found themselves up against highly-ranked opponents and were unable to cause upsets, with Draper losing 6-2 3-6 6-3 7-5 to 14th seed Tommy Paul, while Boulter was beaten 6-3 6-3 by 12th seed Zheng Qinwen.

Draper was particularly frustrated having beaten American Paul in both their previous meetings, including last week in Adelaide.

But, although he pulled up well physically from his dramatic first-round match, which he ended vomiting into a bin, the 22-year-old was unable to find his best tennis.

“He definitely came out playing really well,” said Draper. “I think he knew what he was up against. I think I won all four sets against him that I played.

“I definitely feel like I haven’t really got used to conditions this week at all. I just have been struggling to find my level. Obviously when you are playing a top player like that, if they’re playing well, there are very small margins in it. He was the better player today. He deserved to win.”

Draper is impatient to get to the sort of ranking he knows his talent merits, and it appears physically he is becoming more durable.

Being among the seeds at slams means guaranteeing avoiding higher-ranked players in the first two rounds and, having missed much of last season through injury, Draper now has a big opportunity to climb quickly.

He said: “I feel fit. I’m ready to keep going. I’m very motivated to keep getting better.

“So hopefully, by grass, if I keep my form up, if I stay fit, keep giving myself the opportunities to compete, then I’m going to be hopefully seeded for Wimbledon. And that’s kind of my goal now.”

It is the same for Boulter, who was disappointed to lose to Zheng but showed again that she can mix it with the top players.

The 21-year-old Chinese player is one of the game’s up-and-coming stars but the contest was closer than the score suggested.

Boulter will leave Australia with the best win of her career under her belt against Jessica Pegula at the United Cup earlier this month and a lot of belief in her prospects for the rest of the season.

“This trip has been great,” she said. “For me it’s about week in, week out playing these girls, trying to get big wins against the best players in the world. I gave myself opportunities to do that this week. I found myself winning a couple of matches a few weeks ago as well.

“For me, it is a massive step in the right direction. I’m going to keep working very, very hard. I know my game is there. Today it just wasn’t quite there.

“I would much rather play (her) in the third round, the fourth round to get myself into the tournament more and more and be playing on the bigger courts, which ultimately is more about the tennis than the conditions.

“So my next step for me is to challenge myself to get to 32 and push on from there.”

Related items

  • Former Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza announces retirement Former Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza announces retirement

    Former Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza has announced her retirement from tennis.

    The 30-year-old Spaniard won the French Open in 2016 before lifting the Venus Rosewater Dish on Centre Court the following summer but she had not played a competitive match since January 2023.

    At a press conference where she was announced as a Laureus Ambassador, Muguruza said: “If 25 years ago, when I started hitting my first tennis balls, someone had told me that I would become a professional tennis player, that I would fulfil my dream of winning Roland Garros and Wimbledon, that I would become number one in the world and win the WTA Finals, I would have thought this person was crazy.

    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by Women’s Tennis Association (@wta)

    “Tennis has given me a lot in this first part of my life. It has been a fantastic journey in which I have experienced unique situations. I have travelled all over the world and experienced many different cultures.

    “I am tremendously grateful to all the people who have helped and accompanied me throughout this chapter, because without them I would not have been able to get here.

    “I have grown and matured in a very different way than what can be considered normal, and now I am ready to start a new chapter in my life, which will surely be linked in some way to tennis and sports.

    “I hope that my collaboration with Laureus Sport for Good is the beginning of many more projects in which I can dedicate myself and help young people through sport.”

    Muguruza turned professional in 2012 and reached her first grand slam final three years later at Wimbledon, where she was beaten by Serena Williams.

    But the big-hitting Spaniard took revenge in 2016 when she stunned Williams in the final at Roland Garros, and a year later she beat Venus Williams to add the Wimbledon trophy to her collection.

    She climbed to the top of the rankings in September 2017, where she stayed for four weeks, but consistency was not Muguruza’s strong point and she slipped down the standings before a resurgence in 2020.

    Muguruza reached her fourth grand slam final at the Australian Open, losing to American Sofia Kenin, and she returned to the world’s top three at the end of 2021 after winning the WTA Finals for the first time.

    But the next season saw her plummet back down the rankings and her retirement comes as no surprise given her long hiatus from the sport.

  • Emma Raducanu’s run at Stuttgart Open ended by world number one Iga Swiatek Emma Raducanu’s run at Stuttgart Open ended by world number one Iga Swiatek

    Emma Raducanu’s progress in the Stuttgart Open was halted in straight sets by world number one Iga Swiatek.

    The Polish four-time grand slam champion, in her 100th week on top of the ATP world rankings, prevailed 7-6 (2) 6-3 to set up a semi-final showdown with Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina.

    It was, however, an encouraging quarter-final performance from Raducanu, who has slipped to 303 in the world rankings after a torrid 2023.

    Raducanu came in to the contest on a high after winning four matches in a row for the first time since her US Open title in 2021 and raised confidence levels were reflected in the opening exchanges.

    Several booming returns from the 21-year-old Briton turned a 0-40 deficit into an immediate break of serve, but Swiatek levelled after edging a second game that featured seven deuces.

    That see-saw battle set the tone for a marathon 70-minute opening set which produced plenty of high-quality ground strokes from both sides of the net.

    The match went with serve from that point, with Raducanu superbly holding her nerve at 5-4 and 6-5 down to force the first set to a tie-break.

    Swiatek completely dominated the tie-break though, winning the first four points before closing it out 7-2.

    Raducanu was quickly in trouble again in the second set, falling 2-0 behind and covered in clay after losing her footing on the baseline.

    She continued to fight and fended off break points in her next two service games to stay in the match.

    But Swiatek kept up the pressure to finally end Raducanu’s resistance to move in to the last four.

  • Emma Raducanu promises more after reaching Stuttgart Open quarter-finals Emma Raducanu promises more after reaching Stuttgart Open quarter-finals

    Emma Raducanu says the best is yet to come as she continued her excellent form by making it through to the quarter-final of the Stuttgart Open.

    The 2021 US Open champion beat Linda Noskova 6-0 7-5 in Germany to set up a mouth-watering last-eight tie with world number one Iga Swiatek on Friday.

    Raducanu is making her way back after a torrid 2023 but looked excellent in winning her two ties in the Billie Jean King Cup at the weekend and then followed that up by swatting home favourite Angelique Kerber aside in Wednesday’s first round.

    She stepped it up again to dispose of the world number 31 to set up a repeat of the 2022 quarter-final with Swiatek.

    Despite all her troubles since winning the US Open in 2021, Raducanu never doubted the good times would return.

    “I am not too surprised because I have been working really hard on the training court and I knew it was just a matter of time,” she said in her on-court interview.

    “This isn’t my best I still have a long way to go. I am just really happy the rewards are starting to come on the match court.

    “You know how it is when you are training day in, day out you feel like the results aren’t going your way. It is never that far away, that is something I am learning.

    “Going through everything I have been through gives you a different appreciation, there is nothing like playing in front of fans and playing good tennis.”

    Her progress will face its toughest test when against the Polish world number one, who is a master of the clay court, but the Briton knows she is not under any pressure.

    Raducanu, whose world ranking of 303 will shoot up, added: “We played here two years ago in the quarters, I have come a long way in two years, and she has achieved a lot, I have nothing to lose, I can swing and enjoy it.

    “Hopefully recover in time. I’m good.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.