Draper is a fine talent with ambitions of reaching the world’s top 10, but this defeat was another example of the work he still has to do.

The left-hander recently brought South African former world number nine Wayne Ferreira into his coaching team to help achieve his goal, saying before he faced De Jong that his game – particularly his serve – is “in transition”.

Only landing 50% of his first serves, and winning just 51% of second-serve points, were indicative of that.

Double faults also came at costly moments, none more than the one at 30-40 in the seventh game of the decider which helped De Jong secure victory.

De Jong, 23, oozed confidence on the clay following his three qualifying victories to reach the main draw, while Draper lacked certainty throughout the majority of the match.

After losing a tight first set by being broken in the 12th game, Draper improved to lead 4-2 in the second but lost his way again as De Jong won the final four games of the set.

None of Draper’s seven previous defeats in a Grand Slam main draw had come in straight sets.

While Draper showed plenty of fight to avoid that, his level was still not there and allowed De Jong off the hook with some passive returning in the rallies.

A fine forehand winner down the line arrived at a timely juncture in the tie-break, putting him 5-3 ahead before a double fault and backhand into the net from De Jong continued the match.

Draper found his groove to move a break up in the fourth and, after a hour-long rain delay, took the match into a decider.

Only once had the Briton played a five-set match – when he came through to beat Marcos Giron in brutal conditions at this year’s Australian Open.

That felt like a landmark moment in Draper’s career, showing he had built up the physical and mental resilience to overcome adversity.

However, Draper was unable to win another Grand Slam decider as De Jong set up a second-round match against Spanish third seed Carlos Alcaraz.



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