Jack Draper rides the British wave at Eastbourne and reaches the Quarterfinals

Jack Draper rides the British wave at Eastbourne and reaches the Quarterfinals

Jack Draper rides the British wave in Eastbourne and makes it to the Quarterfinals - GETTY IMAGES

Jack Draper rides the British wave in Eastbourne and makes it to the Quarterfinals – GETTY IMAGES

Young British talent Jack Draper reached his second tour-level quarter-final of his career and capped it with an unwanted gift from a seagull in Eastbourne.

Draper’s 7-5, 7-6 win over world No. 15 Diego Schwartzman was the second-best of his career in the rankings and saw him finish in the last eight in another busy day for the Brits at Eastbourne. But as he celebrated the win, during a post-game interview by the court, bird droppings spattered his wrist. “I just got thrown up by a bird,” he said, laughing. “Is that good luck?”

It’s no wonder Draper, 20, was able to see the bright side. He ranks just outside the top 100 and has had some decent results on the turf, hitting well above his weight. Draper made the last 16 at Queen’s after beating Indian Wells champion Taylor Fritz, and his recent excitement over Schwartzman was also impressive.

After suffering from some nerves while serving for the match, Draper recovered to play a clinical tiebreak to claim the win. He said his recent advances were partly due to dampening the fiery side of his character, which tended to boil over during his junior career.

“When I was a junior and just starting out in the pros, I was very up and down emotionally,” he said. “I would be on a roller coaster ride and so staying in the moment is harder. When you level up against someone like Diego, these top players, they don’t give you those second chances. So it’s up to me to be able to make the difference.

“I want to be a top player in the world, so I know I have to deal with all this emotion and pressure. But I feel like the only pressure I can put on myself is in my own head . As long as I keep doing the right things and improving, that’s all I can do.”

There was also a double for compatriot Harriet Dart, who made it into the last eight with two wins in one day. Darts’ second round match against Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann was suspended on Tuesday due to poor lighting and she was forced to watch Wednesday morning’s decider before jumping back onto the pitch to face Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk in the next round.

It was going to be quite a fight, but Dart saw it go 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. It was another impressive win for darts, who are ranked at No. 103 in the world and also reached the quarter-finals at the Nottingham Open earlier this month. Next up is former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who has ousted Britain’s Katie Boulter.

Harriet Dart won two matches on Wednesday - GETTY IMAGES

Harriet Dart won two matches on Wednesday – GETTY IMAGES

Otherwise it was a mixed result day for the home talent. Jodie Burrage finally retired from Eastbourne after a brave run into the last 16 in which she beat world No. 3 Paula Badosa. She was well beaten by the currently in-form grass court player, Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is on a 12-game winning streak. Dan Evans lost in straight sets to American Maxime Cressey, who will meet British No. 1 Cam Norrie in the last eight.

Norrie was given a bye to the round of 16 and finally scored his first grass-court victory of the year with a dominant display against American Brandon Nakashima on Wednesday. Ryan Peniston’s match was stopped due to bad light in the deciding set against Pedro Martinez.

Last week in Eastbourne was one of the most successful for the Brits in recent memory, as seven players reached the round of 16 in both men’s and women’s singles. Given that British tennis’s two biggest stars, Andy Murray and Emma Raducanu, have both missed competitive matches this week due to related abdominal injuries, the rest of the pack have risen to the challenge and it bodes well for their chances on the grass in Wimbledon next week.

Britain’s success at Eastbourne was only surpassed by 23-time Major champion Serena Williams, who made her long-awaited comeback to competitive tennis. She secured her second win of the week on Wednesday, reaching the doubles semi-final at Devonshire Park with partner Ons Jabeur.

She and Jabeur appeared to be in much more sync than they had been in the first round, and it was a dramatic, straight 6-2, 6-4 win over doubles specialists Shuko Aoyama of Japan and Chan Hao-ching of Taiwan. Next they meet Magda Linette and Aleksandra Krunic.

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