Cressy Edges Draper In Marathon Eastbourne SF
For the third straight match, Maxime Cressy has extinguished the hopes of a British home favourite at the Rothesay International.
In Friday’s Eastbourne semi-finals, the American outlasted #NextGenATP Jack Draper 7-6(5), 6-7(2), 6-3 to reach the second ATP Tour final of his career. The two-hour and 41-minute victory follows straight-sets wins against top seed Cameron Norrie in the quarter-finals and Daniel Evans in the second round.
“Three matches in a row, it’s getting tough,” he said in an on-court interview, before addressing the British crowd. “Hopefully you guys are [cheering] for me tomorrow. Sorry guys, I apologise for this week. I know I made all the Brits lose, but thank you for a fantastic atmosphere… I’m very grateful for you guys.”
Cressy earned the first break of the match on his 10th chance to lead 4-2 in the third. But after facing just one previous break point, he had to save five in his last two service games as Draper dialled in on the return. The American dug deep to escape holes of 15/40 and 0/40 in those two games, rediscovering his serving touch at the crucial moments, and ultimately closed out the match by winning the five points in a row.
“It’s a roller coaster,” Cressy said of the nervy finish. “At 0/40… it’s hard to describe the feeling, but I feel a lot of relief from that game. I’m incredibly happy and thrilled to be in the final here.”
Cressy pressured Draper throughout the opening two sets, creating six break points, but found himself level with the 20-year-old after the Briton played an inspired second tie-break, buoyed by his home crowd. A dramatic final set included nine of the match’s 16 break points, with Cressy’s lone break proving the difference.
True to form, the 25-year-old charged the net at every opportunity and won 66 per cent (39/59) of such points. He frequently followed up big serves with volley winners, leading to an 81 per cent (57/70) win rate on first serve, including 21 aces.
The American received a medical timeout late in the second set for a lower-body issue, but responded well after dropping the tie-break to earn a chance to play for his first tour-level title. He reached his first final in January, when he put forth a strong effort in a 7-6(6), 6-3 defeat to Rafael Nadal.
Cressy’s run to the Eastbourne final lifts him to No. 46 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings. His career-high Pepperstone ATP Rankings is No. 59, achieved in January. Draper, who was playing in his first tour-level semi-final, is up to No. 94 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings after reaching the semi-finals. He is currently fifth in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Milan.
Cressy awaits the winner of Friday’s second semi-final between third seed Taylor Fritz and sixth seed Alex de Minaur. He has not dropped a set on the week and improves to 6-3 on grass courts with the victory.
More to come…