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Draper, Barrere Make Fast Starts In Lyon

After nearly six weeks away, Jack Draper returned to ATP Tour action in style on Sunday at the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon.

The Briton charged past home favourite Alexandre Muller 6-2, 6-3 on debut at the clay-court ATP 250 in France. Draper did not face a break point and converted three from six of his own to seal a 75-minute triumph.

“I thought I played good today,” said Draper. “Alex played some amazing tennis. Obviously he had [the crowd] behind him and it was a good level match. So I’m happy with the way I played today.”

Draper’s 2023 season has so far included a semi-final run in Adelaide and a fourth-round run in Indian Wells, but he did not compete in Madrid or Rome due to an abdominal injury. Now fit again to compete and having posted an impressive opening win in Lyon, the 21-year-old will take on fifth seed Miomir Kecmanovic or Oriol Roca Batalla in the second round.

Gregoire Barrere showed no sign of nerves on home soil Sunday at the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon, where he took down countryman Corentin Moutet 6-4-6-2 to reach the second round at the ATP 250.

“I’m really happy to be in the second round here,” said Barrere after his 90-nminute triumph. “I always like to play in France, I play every tournament in France. For me it was a good first round, I played really good. I stayed focused during the whole match, so it was a good match for me.”

Barrere arrived in France fresh from a third-round run in Rome, where he notched one of the biggest wins of his career against World No. 11 Karen Khachanov. The 29-year-old, currently No. 55 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, has another opportunity to claim a Top 20 scalp in the second round in Lyon when he takes on Tommy Paul.

“He’s a really good player. He made the semis in the Australian Open at the beginning of the year, so he’s improving a lot,” said Barrere of the American World No. 17. “It will be a fun match for me, a very interesting match, and I hope to be ready and to play well and to beat him.”

In the other first-round match on Sunday’s schedule in Lyon, Juan Pablo Varillas prevailed 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-4 in a three-hour, 11-minute marathon against Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Varillas, who reached his maiden ATP Tour semi-final on clay in February in Buenos Aires, will take on fourth seed Francisco Cerundolo next.


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