Southend star Ryan Peniston battled past fellow Brit Jack Draper in a thrilling second round contest at the Surbiton Trophy on Thursday, writes Oli Dickson Jefford in Surbiton.
Peniston, who benefits from the LTA’s NTC Access programme that supports players ranked 100-200 in singles and 31-100 in doubles, prevailed 6-7(9) 7-5 6-4 to reach the last eight.
The 26-year-old rebounded from missing set points in the opening set and then came from 4-2 down in the decider to beat Draper, who is 89 spots above him in the ATP rankings and was struggling physically towards the end of the contest.
“It was a tough battle from the start to the finish, and it’s a shame Jack got some cramps in the end, but I thought the level was really good and he was fighting all the way. It was a good battle,” he said.
“I’m pleased with just getting over the line, really. It was a tough situation at the end because of Jack’s physical issues, but credit to him – he was still fighting hard. Just to get over the line and keep my head on my shoulders, it was a good effort I thought.
“It was a tough one. I was up in that first set pretty much the whole time and then had a little slip, and got to the breaker. “It was very tight as well, and I had a set point, then he got it. I was pleased with how I regrouped at the end of the second set.”
Victory over Draper follows a significant win for Peniston in the first round, where he beat former top 25 player and second seed Adrian Mannarino, also from a set down.
Having entered the main draw as a wildcard, he now faces qualifier Otto Virtanen for a place in the second round on Friday.
Virtanen beat another Brit in the form of Paul Jubb in the second round, and Peniston is relishing the chance to face him himself.
He added: “I know a little bit about him. I’ve seen him play quite a bit and I played him once before. I’m looking forward to it.
“He’s a good player, so hopefully it will be a good match.”
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