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Preview: Carlos Alcaraz vs. Jack Draper - prediction, head-to-head, tournament so far

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Queen's last-16 tie between Carlos Alcaraz and Jack Draper, including predictions, head-to-head and their tournament so far.

Thursday afternoon at the Queen's Club Tennis Championships pits top seed Carlos Alcaraz against Jack Draper in the pick of the round of 16 clashes.

The Spaniard is the defending champion at the ATP 500 event, and he seeks to avoid a shock exit against the British No. 1, still buoyed from claiming his first tour win in Stuttgart.


Match preview

Carlos Alcaraz in action at the Indian Wells Masters on March 15, 2024© Reuters

Alcaraz returned to the Cinch Championships on Tuesday with a straight-set 6-1, 7-5 victory over Francisco Cerundolo, but the first-round match underlined the best and worst of the top seed.

The Spanish sensation breezed through the opening set after a double break and was on course for a comfortable afternoon on centre court in his first grass-court appearance of 2024, only for a typical dip to rear its head at the start of the second set.

Broken at the start of the second, the Roland Garros champion trailed 5-2, broke back when Cerundolo served for the set at 5-4 and again in the 11th game of the set before sealing his return to the ATP 500 event with a hold.

The win meant the freshly crowned French Open winner and defending champion in Queen's avoided a short early elimination to his Argentine opponent in their second career meeting and a first since 2019.

Tuesday's triumph also means Alcaraz has not dropped a set at the Cinch Championships since his first-round win over Arthur Rinderknech last year, and he hopes to build on Tuesday's success against a confident Draper.

Jack Draper reacts at the Australian Open on January 18, 2024© Reuters

The British No. 1 is still in high spirits after defeating Matteo Berrettini in a hard-fought Stuttgart final, claiming his first title at the ATP 250 event and rising nine places to a career-high rank of No. 31.

Draper was back on home soil two days after that maiden triumph, where he showed supreme focus to dispatch Mariano Navone in 54 minutes in a 6-3, 6-2 success.

The 22-year-old is making up for lost time after missing the entire grass-court season in 2023, and he aims to build on the momentum from the recent Stuttgart success against the in-form Alcaraz on home soil.

However, it is easier said than done for the British No. 1, who must show the evident battling qualities that typified that recent victory over Berrettini when he came from a set down to beat the Italian.

Alcaraz undoubtedly poses superior qualities, and Draper's ongoing six-match winning streak in this year's grass season faces its sternest test on Thursday.


Tournament so far

Carlos Alcaraz:

First round: vs. Francisco Cerundolo 6-1 7-5

Jack Draper:

First round: vs. Mariano Navone 6-3 6-2


Head To Head

Basle (2022) - Round of 32: Alcaraz 3-6 6-2 7-5

Indian Wells (2023) - Round of 16: Alcaraz 6-2 2-0 ret

Despite both turning pro in 2018, Thursday's encounter between Alcaraz and Draper will be their third meeting on Tour.

While the battle will be their first on grass, the pair have previously met on hard courts with the 21-year-old Spaniard winning in three sets in Basle in 2022 and at last year's Masters event at Indian Wells, even if that match ended with the Briton retiring while trailing 6-2, 2-0.

The top seed's 83% win rate in 2024 significantly outdoes Draper's 60% heading into their round of 16 battle.


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We say: Alcaraz to win in three sets

While Alcaraz's superiority means he ought to extend his winning run at the Cinch Championships to seven consecutive victories, Draper should back himself to at least take a set off the top seed, having played for much longer on grass this season.

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Jack Draper reacts at the Stuttgart Open on June 16, 2024 [IMAGO]
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