Adelaide International: Lehecka rallies past Draper to lift trophy
ASELAIDE — Jiri Lehecka, the 22-year-old Czech sensation, showcased his resilience and firepower to secure his inaugural ATP Tour crown against Jack Draper at the Adelaide International, on Saturday
Lehecka’s comeback victory, marked by a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 triumph, left spectators in awe at the hard-court ATP 250 in South Australia.
Amidst the intense battle, Lehecka’s heavy forehand dominated the rallies, guiding him to 34 winners against Draper’s 24, according to Infosys ATP Stats. The Czech’s mental fortitude shone as he held serve from 3-1, 0/40 in the decisive third set, a pivotal moment that underscored his championship-worthy performance.
In a gracious trophy ceremony, Lehecka expressed his overwhelming emotions, stating, “It’s hard for me to say something because it is so emotional for me to win my first title here in Adelaide.” He went on to congratulate Draper and his team, acknowledging the joy of witnessing their impressive play.
Jack Draper, recognizing Lehecka’s outstanding achievement, said, “I’d like to congratulate Jiri and his coach. You guys have been doing some amazing work. A career-high ranking, playing some amazing tennis, and your first title. I was trying to do the same today, but you deserve it, and you were the better player today.”
This victory marks the first Czech ATP Tour title since Jiri Vesely in Pune in 2020. As a reward for his stellar performance, Lehecka will ascend nine spots to a new career high of No. 23 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. The triumph in Adelaide will undoubtedly boost his confidence as he sets his sights on the Australian Open, where he reached his maiden major quarter-final in 2023.
Looking ahead, Lehecka is slated to face Bernabe Zapata Miralles in his opening match in Melbourne, while Draper kicks off his campaign against Marcos Giron.