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Draper, 16, into boys’ final after epic four-hour contest – highlights & report

Jack Draper, 16, into boys’ Wimbledon final after epic four-hour contest
Wimbledon 2018 on the BBC
Venue: All England Club, Wimbledon Dates: 2-15 July
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, Connected TVs and the BBC Sport website and app; Live Radio 5 live and 5 live sports extra commentary; Text commentary online.

Jack Draper is a step away from becoming the first British Wimbledon boys’ champion since 1962 after beating Nicolas Mejia in an incredible semi-final that lasted more than four hours.

Colombian world number three Mejia saved nine match points – eight in the deciding set – before the 16-year-old sealed a 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (6-8) 19-17 win.

Draper had only two breaks of serve during the tight match.

The British teen grabbed victory with an overhead smash after 263 minutes.

He described seeing nine match points come and go as torture and added: “I can’t feel my legs (smiling). Apart from that, I’m overwhelmed by all. I was happy with the way I sort of came through it.”

Draper, who defeated Bulgarian number seven seed Adrian Andreev and American number 11 seed Tristan Boyer en route to the last four, is the son of former Lawn Tennis Association chief Roger Draper.

The last Briton to win the Wimbledon boys’ title was Stanley Matthews, the son of the famous Blackpool footballer, in 1962.

Asked if he knew who Matthews was he admitted he didn’t know – nor did he know he was the last boys winner 56 years ago.

Laura Robson was the last Briton to win a Wimbledon junior title, when she triumphed in 2008.

Draper relief after Mejia frustrates

It was a phenomenal display by both players.

Gutsy Mejia saved 17 break points in total during the contest. The 18-year-old first faced match point during the second set tie-break, but Draper fired his double-handed backhand fractions wide.

The British world junior number 41 gesticulated despairingly after his opponent saved match point after match point – until the 36th game of the third set, when he finally converted.

Draper fell backwards on to the court after securing victory, in front of a court three crowd that included his mother and brother and Great Britain coach Leon Smith.

He will now face Taiwan’s Chun Hsin Tseng, the world number one junior, in Sunday’s final.

Draper added: “I know he’s an extremely tough opponent. He’s doing well on the men’s side, as far as I know. He’s, of course, number one junior. He’s a very good prospect. It will be tough to beat him.”

BBC Sport

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