Dominic Stricker earned a statement win at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals Tuesday when he defeated third seed Jack Draper 4-3(5), 4-3(5), 4-3(5) in his opening Red Group match.
The 20-year-old produced an impressive serving performance inside the Allianz Cloud, swinging his lefty serve out wide to pin Draper deep. Stricker fired 14 aces, showed good touch around the net and held his nerve in the crucial moments to triumph after 88 minutes.
Stricker is making his debut in Milan this week. However, he took little time adjusting to the innovations and rules in place at the 21-and-under event, including the first-to-four, best-of-five set format and one sit-down per set.
Stricker, who squandered four match points on Draper’s serve at 2-3 in the third set, now holds a 1-0 record in Red Group. He will play Lorenzo Musetti, also a victor on Day 1, in his second match on Wednesday. Draper will look to get off the mark when he faces Chun-Hsin Tseng.
Earlier this season, the World No. 111 Stricker clinched two ATP Challenger Tour titles and earned four Top 40 wins. Stricker opened his shoulders throughout the clash against Draper, dictating points with his fearsome forehand.
Draper started the year at No. 265 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings but arrived in Milan at a career-high No. 41. The 20-year-old reached the quarter-finals at an ATP Masters 1000 event in Montreal, before he upset Felix Auger-Aliassime en route to the third round at the US Open.
Did You Know?
Stricker is the first player to win three consecutive tie-breaks in the history of the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals.