Cameron Norrie and rookie Jack Draper led the way for home players on Wednesday to set up a British quarter-final at the pre-Wimbledon Queen’s club event
Norrie began the day with a 7-5, 6-2 defeat of breakout Russian Aslan Karatsev.
Draper, playing a Tour-level event for the first time, thrilled a crowd of 2,000 mainly club members with his win over Alexander Bublik 7-6(5), 7-6(0).
The frustrated Kazakh all but packed it in in the closing minutes as the second tiebreak went totally against him.
The winning pair set the pace for compatriots Andy Murray and No. 1 Dan Evans, playing on Thursday.
“A huge win for me and definitely a big step up from my first round on Monday,” Norrie said after stopping Australian Open semi-finalist Karatasev. “All credit to him, he’s having a great year.
“He’s won a lot this year, so it’s a huge win for me and another match on the grass. It’s all invaluable stuff.”
Norrie notched a personal record of 27 wins so far this season and will play his first ATP quarter-final on grass since Eastbourne three years ago.
No. 309 Draper served leading a set and 5-4 but ended up having to do it tough in a tiebreaker against Bublik.
The Kazakh went into a sulk in the breaker, all but giving away the match with a listless effort in the closing minutes.
“I made a couple of poor decisions but I’m still learning.” the Brit said. “I thought I might have blown it at the end – I’m glad I stuck with it.
“I’ve been able to take advantage of opportunities this week, Usually I’ve been playing on the Futures with one man and his dog watching.
“Having a crowd like this was exciting, they help a lot in the little moments.”
The 19-year-old added: “I didn’t have a lot of expectations even after beating Jannik (Sinner) in the first round.
“But I didn’t start quite as nervous as before. I’m glad we will have at least one Brit in the semis, I’m proud to share the court with Cam.”
Alex de Minaur came out on top in an all-Australian second-round match, defeating good friend John Millman 6-1, 6-3 for a 3-0 lead in their series.
“I’m very close to Johnny, so I want him to do as well as possible and would have loved for him to be on the other side of the draw and go deep,” De Minaur said.
“I handled (things) very well today and I’m happy with my performance.”
The winner’s Wimbledon prep appears to be coming along nicely after reaching last week’s Stuttgart quarters.
“It’s a surface that I feel like I adapt pretty quickly to,” De Minaur said of what he called “the best part of the season.”
“I’ve gotten two good wins here, so it’s a work in progress,”