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Preview: Jack Draper vs. Tommy Paul - prediction, head-to-head, tournament so far

Sports Mole previews Friday's Queen's quarterfinal tie between Jack Draper and Tommy Paul, including predictions, head-to-head and their tournament so far.

Jack Draper can do no wrong on grass right now, and the British No. 1 seeks to extend his winning run against Tommy Paul in Friday's quarter-final match at the Queen's Club Tennis Championships.

The in-form Briton secured a stunning victory over Carlos Alcaraz on Thursday, while his opponent has not dropped a set in both rounds at the Cinch Championships.

Match preview

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

Draper's winning run on grass courts this year was tipped to end against the defending champion in Queen's, but the 22-year-old had other ideas to beat Alcaraz in straight sets 7-6 (3), 6-3.

The Briton's win over the top seed ended the Spaniard's eight-match winning streak on all surfaces, including this month's win at Roland Garros, and the world No. 2's six-match undefeated sequence at the Cinch Championships.

Buoyed by the home support and a commendable winning streak on grass, the winner of last week's ATP 250 event remains undefeated on the surface this year, extending his run to seven without defeat.

Having eliminated Alcaraz to continue the momentum from Stuttgart, it remains to be seen how Draper fares now that he arguably becomes the favourite to win on home soil at Queen's.

The British No. 1 is yet to drop a set at the ongoing Championships, and he seeks to keep that going on Friday.

Tommy Paul hits a shot at the Indian Wells Masters on March 14, 2024© Reuters

Standing in Draper's path is 27-year-old Paul, who may not have his opponent's momentum but heads into Friday's quarter-final without also dropping a set.

The American could not get past the second round in last week's ATP 250 event in the Netherlands, exiting in three sets against countryman Sebastian Korda in the quarter-final.

Paul had needed three sets to defeat Alexei Popyrin in the previous round, pointing to the American still struggling to acclimate to the crossover from clay in the Netherlands.

However, this week has shown progress in that regard, with the world No. 13 defeating Sebastian Baez (6-4, 6-4) and Alejandro Tabilo (6-3, 6-4) in straight sets in the first round and round of 16, respectively, to set up a fourth meeting with Draper.

Despite his higher ranking, the 27-year-old American is the undoubted underdog against his in-form opponent, as he seeks to overcome the Briton's momentum against an expected partisan crowd on centre court on Friday.

Tournament so far

Jack Draper:

First round: vs. Mariano Navone 6-3 6-2
Round of 16: vs Carlos Alcaraz 7-6 (3) 6-3

Tommy Paul

First round: vs. Sebastian Baez 6-4 6-4
Round of 16: vs. Alejandro Tabilo 6-3 6-4

Head To Head

Adelaide 2 (2023) - Round of 16: Draper 6-4 6-4

Adelaide (2024) - Quarter-final: Draper 6-1 6-4

Australian Open (2024) - Round of 64: Paul 6-2 3-6 6-3 7-5

Acapulco (2024) - Round of 32: Draper 6-0 6-4

Despite facing off four times on Tour, Friday's quarter-final meeting will be the pair's first match-up on grass, with previous encounters on hard courts.

The Briton edges their rivalry 3-1, having never dropped a set in their best-of-three encounters. However, Draper lost to Paul Down Under in four sets in their only Slam battle in January but regained superiority with a seemingly comfortable win in the ATP 500 event in Mexico the following month.

SM words green background

We say: Draper to win in two sets

While both players go into Friday's quarter-final match in fine form, Draper still holds an advantage over Paul.

Not only will the British No. 1 have the home support to count on, but he also has the momentum of winning seven consecutive matches in the grass-court season and has the edge in their head-to-head, albeit never on grass. Draper extending his ongoing sequence is undoubtedly the better bet.

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