Hurkacz's tough match in Monte Carlo.  He snatched victory from the British

After his first career win at a clay-court tournament – ​​in Estoril, Portugal – Hurkacz began another claycourt event, a much stronger and more prestigious one, with a match against the No. 39 player in the ATP rankings.

The Wroclaw native has previously faced the second-highest-ranked Briton, behind Cameron Norrie, three times and won two of these fights – in 2022 in Antwerp and in 2023 in Monte Carlo, when he won 6:3, 6 in the championship stage. Finals 1/32: 7, 7:5. However, in the last confrontation with the 22-year-old from London Sutton, the Pole left the court defeated – in the second round of the 2023 US Open, he lost to Draper 2:6, 4:6, 5:7.

Hurkacz started Tuesday's first-round match at the Rolex Monte Carlo Masters extravaganza. He broke his British opponent's serve in his first match, using the third break point to take a 2-0 lead. Later, he won by serving to zero (3:0), but in the next part of the match his opponent was bolder.

In the fifth game, Draper had two opportunities to break the Polish player's barrier, but this time the eighth player in the ATP rankings was still defending himself. When the Wrocław player made the pass again, the Briton had already taken the first chance to make up for the loss. Then, on his serve, he did not concede a single point to Hurkacz and leveled the score at 4:4.

However, the lower-ranked tennis player did not follow through and initially did not stand up to the pole when he served, then missed his shot again. Some good returns and wisely played exchanges gave our representative a lead of 40:30, and in the first set ball Draper committed a double serve error (6:4).

In the second set, Hurkacz played very poorly in the fourth game – a combination of his errors and Draper's brilliant moves meant that the tennis player from Wrocław did not score a single point on his serve. Then his opponent took a 3:2 lead, then he quickly decided the serve game in his favor and won 4:2.

The winner from Estoril seemed out of rhythm until the end of the set. He did not create even a shadow of an opportunity to make up for the loss, and after losing his serve to zero for the second time in this part of the match, he lost 3:6.

The previous two matches against Draper, played not in three sets as at the US Open, but in two, were won by Hurkacz, so one can hope that it will be better this time as well. The Polish player gave his fans reasons for optimism when the score was 1:1, when he finally emerged from several minutes of stagnation. First, after an exchange of 23 shots, he scored a break point, and a moment later, when the tennis player from Sutton threw a forehand, he broke it for the third time in the match and took a 2-1 lead.

For a long time it seemed that this was the decisive moment of the match, because the Wrocław player won his next matches without any major problems and was confidently heading towards victory. On the other hand, the Briton seemed increasingly depressed. However, when Hurkacz served for the win at 5:4, Draper was able to neutralize the Pole's serve, capitalize on his errors, and win the match to 15 and level the score at 5:5.

Progress to the second round was decided by a tie-break, which the Polish representative began by hitting the line with a forehand and making a mini-break. A moment later, after a bold attack at the net and scoring the second point on an opponent's pass, he was already leading 4-0. Perhaps winning points on his serve gave him match points (6-1), and in the end Hurkacz won 7-2 and the entire match, after 2 hours and 24 minutes of play, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2).

Throughout the match, the Wroclaw native had seven aces (his opponent had six) and committed one double fault. He hit the first serve with 67 percent efficiency and won 73 percent of the balls after that (and 45 percent after the second serve). He also had 31 shot winners with 28 unforced errors (Draper had 19 winners and 18 errors, respectively). He took advantage of three of six chances to break his opponent.

In the second round, he will face Polish Roberto Bautista Agut, ranked 90th in the ATP rankings, who confidently defeated Argentine Facundo Acosta 6-2, 6-4 in his first match. The Spaniard's highest ranking was ninth place (November 2019).

Hurkacz confronted him five times. He lost his first three matches, but in his last two games of 2023 he was better than the experienced Spaniard. He defeated him at the tournaments in Rotterdam (7:5, 6:7, 7:6) and in Paris (6:3, 6:2). The match in Monte Carlo will be their first duel on clay courts.

ATP Masters 1000 Monte Carlo
Hubert Hurkacz (Poland, 10) – Jack Draper (Great Britain) 6:4, 3:6, 7:6 (7-2)

Grzegorz Wojnarowski, Polsat Sport

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