Top two seeds Jack Draper and Julian Ocleppo to meet in World Tour M25 Shrewsbury tournament final
Top seed Jack Draper will be seeking to become the first British singles champion of a GB Pro-Series men’s tournament at The Shrewsbury Club since Dan Evans in 2013 when he lines up in today’s final.
Rising star Draper, 17, will take on Italian second seed Julian Ocleppo as the Budgen Motors ITF World Tour M25 Shrewsbury tournament draws to an exciting close (1.30pm).
Admission is free for spectators to enjoy the action from court-side stands.
Draper, who reached the boys’ singles final at Wimbledon in 2018, led German player Tobias Simon 3-2 in yesterday’s second semi-final when his opponent had to retire owing to injury.
Ocleppo got the better of Brit Luke Johnson in three sets in the opening last four clash to ensure this week’s top two seeds will contest the final.
“I’m really happy to be in the final here,” said Draper, from Surrey. “It’s a great event. You get support here and they’re really into their tennis in Shrewsbury, so I’m really looking forward to it. It’s going to be a good match.”
The big-serving Simon, who had not dropped a set in reaching the last four, was unable to continue midway through the first set, with Draper stressing: “Obviously, it’s a shame that he had to end this way.”
Currently ranked 354 in the world, Draper has enjoyed the time he has spent in Shrewsbury: “I’m happy with the way this week’s gone so far,” he said. "I’ve just got to keep on going, keep on taking it day in, day out and hopefully I can finish strong.”
On having people rooting for him and wanting him to do well, he added: “It’s very nice and very flattering. You don’t often get this in the UK at some of the events, so it really is amazing.”
It will be the first meeting between Draper - who is supported by the LTA’s Pro Scholarship Programme - and Ocleppo, with the promising Brit well aware he will need to be at his best as he chases a third ITF $25,000 title this year.
“I’ve never played him before, but he’s obviously a great, great player and I’m going to have to really be on form,” he added.
Ocleppo, 22, is also looking forward to today’s match after ending the impressive run of Johnson, from Leeds, at the semi-final stage.
The Italian eventually won through 7-6, 3-6, 6-3 in an entertaining match which lasted just over two hours.
“I’m very happy with the way I played and I’m very happy to be able to get the win,” said Ocleppo, whose current world ranking is 412. "It was a very tough match. My opponent was serving very, very well.
"I was just trying to keep myself concentrated even if I had a very tough time with my serve. At the end, I’m very happy with the way I played on the return games and I tried to play solid.”
Ocleppo, who lives near Turin, is excited to be in the final: "I lost one and won one last year, so this is my third final,” he said. "I’m very happy, very excited to be able to put the three in front of my ranking for the first time."
This is Ocleppo’s first visit to Shrewsbury - and he’s impressed.
“The club is very nice,” he added. “The people are very nice, the hospitality, so I’m very happy to be here and very happy to be in the final as well.”
Meanwhile, yesterday afternoon’s all-British doubles final saw Elliott Farmer and Alexander Jhun impressively beat Tom Hands and Tom MacKinlay 6-4, 6-3.
Pictured: Singles finalists Jack Draper and Julian Ocleppo. Pictures: Richard Dawson Photography.