Britain was guaranteed at least one player in the last four this weekend at Queen’s Club and it will be Cameron Norrie, who beat his teenage compatriot Jack Draper.
In Draper’s breakthrough tournament he has beaten two top-40 players in Jannik Sinner and Alexander Bublik. But the 19-year-old found the in-form Norrie, ranked 41 in the world, a step too far and fell to a 6-3, 6-3 defeat.
Earlier, the British No 1, Dan Evans, was outgunned by the top seed, Matteo Berrettini. In a match delayed by four and a half hours because of rain, Evans dropped serve only once but was beaten 7-6 (5), 6-3 by the Italian world No 9.
Evans was unable to add the big-serving Berrettini to his four previous top-10 scalps – including Novak Djokovic earlier this year – but he will take a lot of positivity from his week at the cinch Championships into Wimbledon later this month.
Under gloomy west London skies, Evans had to save four break points in coming back from 0-40 in his opening service game and then squandered a break point of his own in the next.
A further four break points were saved in the fifth, taking Evans’s total during the week to 18. But after that early flurry of chances, the set meandered into a tie-break and a double-fault by Evans proved costly, cancelling out a mini-break. The first set point fell to Berrettini and he took it with a booming forehand which a scrambling Evans could only return long.
Berrettini’s 140mph serves, which accounted for Andy Murray on Thursday, were in full effect again as he slammed down four straight aces in a 44-second game.
Evans forced a break point at 2-2 but was unable to convert and a wayward service game gifted Berrettini a 5-3 lead and ultimately the match.
Evans said: “I thought he played a good match, and I thought I did well to hang around. Obviously I got in some winning positions in the first set and didn’t take them. So that’s life.
“But, you know, I’m right there. I’m right there or thereabouts where I want to be at this point on the grass.”