Played in grueling 35 degree heat at times, the match was a repeat of the pair’s recent meeting at the UTS Grand Final in London.
Draper also claimed that match, winning 12-11, 13-15, 13-12, 13-10 to remain undefeated across the group stage of the London tournament. Now, with another win over The Bublik Enemy, The Power is through to his second-ever ATP final.
“Very proud of myself,” the Brit said after his victory. “It was a tough match today against a guy who is very unpredictable, let’s put it that way.
“He’s great for tennis. It’s really fun to play him and watch him play as well.”
Draper and Bublik take UTS vibes to the ATP Tour
While large swathes of Draper’s win over Bublik were about who would crack first in long rallies played under the hot Australian sun, one game in particular took on more of a UTS vibe.
It was all thanks to The Bublik Enemy, who seemed to decide in the third game of the second set that he’d throw out any semblance of a gameplan, and simply do what felt good.
First, it was a behind-the-back, between-the-legs shot that absolutely did not need to be played. Bublik received a short ball standing mid-court which could have been dispatched for a winner, but instead he chose to perform a trick shot, sending a floating tweener over Draper’s head.
The Brit did well to chase it down and return with a tweener of his own, before Bublik finished off at the net. But that was far from the end.
Next, The Bublik Enemy decided to dish up not one, but two under-arm serves. The first of these Draper returned well, with Bublik sending back another lob to win the point. The second, however, saw The Power join the party, with the 22-year-old sending up a loopy high dropshot that sat up on the net for Bublik.
Rather than putting the shot away, Bublik did as fans have come to expect from the Kazakh–finished the rally off by hitting a winner with his racquet handle, holding it upside down.
Mayhem aside, big moment for Draper
Despite the brief circus that erupted in the second set (which by the way, ended with the pair exchanging a handshake at the change of ends), the victory is a big step forward for Draper.
The Power looked physically drained by the heat at the start of the match, but managed to dig in and get the job done. He’s now won 13 of his last 15 matches on the ATP Tour, during which he also won the UTS Grand Final in London with an undefeated record.
Win against Jiri Lehecka tomorrow, and Draper will claim his first title on the ATP Tour, setting him up perfectly to be a dark horse at the Australian Open over the next fortnight.