Norrie finds form to stun British number one Draper

Cameron Norrie
Cameron Norrie was a Wimbledon semi-finalist in 2022 [Getty Images]

Cameron Norrie looked back to his best as he stunned British number one Jack Draper with an assured second-round win at Wimbledon.

Norrie was displaced by Draper, 22, as Britain’s leading man last month.

The 28-year-old has struggled this season, suffering first-round exits at the French Open, Queen’s and Eastbourne.

But he moved past an in-form Draper 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 7-6 (8-6).

"It wasn't easy coming out here today to play Jack, he's been playing so well and we're such good friends off the court so we had to put that aside today," said Norrie.

"I felt like I was a little bit of the underdog coming in today, so I was pretty relaxed."

Norrie will play fourth seed Alexander Zverev in the third round.

His victory was another triumph for British number twos on Court One after Harriet Dart overcame Britain’s top-ranked woman Katie Boulter in extraordinary fashion earlier on Thursday.

British wildcard Jacob Fearnley took a set off seven-time champion Novak Djokovic but fell short of creating a seismic shock earlier on Thursday at Wimbledon.

Fearnley, a 22-year-old from Scotland, was beaten 6-3 6-4 5-7 7-5 by the Serb second seed in an increasingly febrile atmosphere on Centre Court.

"All in all this match potentially deserved to go into a fifth, particularly with the way he played in the fourth. But I'm very glad it didn't," said Djokovic, who is still recovering from knee surgery last month.

Norrie uses experience to outsmart big-hitter Draper

Draper came into the Championships on a rich vein of form having won his first ATP Tour title in Stuttgart a couple of weeks earlier.

Seeded at Wimbledon for the first time, his five-set victory under the Centre Court lights in the first round evoked memories of Andy Murray.

But Draper, whose career has already been hampered by injury and fitness issues, will have to wait at least another year to try and emulate the two-time Wimbledon winner.

The left-handers needed a tie-break to settle the opening set and Norrie swept aside his big-hitting opponent with lightning-fast reactions at the net.

The former world number eight continued to outsmart Draper, winning the next four games before holding off the 28th seed to take a two-set lead.

Unable to serve out the third after breaking early, Draper was left ruing missed chances as Norrie took charge of the tie-break to reach the third round.

Fearless Fearnley pushes Djokovic

In May, Fearnley finished his university studies in the United States. Six weeks later, he was trying to beat one of the greatest players of all time on the world's most iconic tennis court.

Making his main-draw debut at the All England Club, the world number 277 showcased his talent and caused serious problems for the 24-time Grand Slam champion.

Fearnley was two points away from taking the match into a deciding set before 37-year-old Djokovic came through.

It was an impressive performance from the British number 13, who deservedly received a standing ovation which Djokovic joined in with.

"I hadn't had a chance to see him play until two days ago, there is always an element of surprise and nothing for him to lose," said Djokovic, who will face Australian world number 46 Alexei Popyrin next.

"He served very well, it was hard to break his serve and he made me work.”

Ranked outside the world's top 500 last month, Fearnley won the Nottingham Open for his first title on the ATP Challenger Tour and was given a wildcard for the Wimbledon main draw as a result.

Against Djokovic, Fearnley confidently held his opening three service games in the first two sets, and created a break point at 2-1 up in the second, before being worn down by his opponent’s relentless returning.

Fearnley lost serve at 2-2 in the third set and Djokovic's passionate celebration was a sign of how much he was being pushed.

However, Fearnley refused to be disheartened. He broke straight back for 3-3, saved two more break points for a 5-4 lead, then pinched the set with another break to the delight of the jubilant home fans.

Fearnley continued to play calmly and fearlessly and, at 4-5 and 15-30 in the fourth set, was two points away from levelling the match.

But Djokovic found his first serve just when it mattered to hang on and, after Fearnley blinked with a double fault on break point at 5-5, moved into the last 32 without needing to go the distance.

"Can I be playing better and moving better? Absolutely. I hope as the tournament progresses I'll be feeling much better,” said Djokovic.