Adrian Mannarino has done it the hard way this week. After racking up four match points in his opening round win at the Winston-Salem Open, he has beaten four seeded players to advance to his first tour-level final since 2020.
The 34-year-old Frenchman raced past second seed Botic van de Zandschulp on Friday evening and took a 6-0, 6-4 victory in one hour and 15 minutes. With the win in Saturday’s final against Laslo Djere, Mannarino would become the oldest champion in the history of the ATP 250 event.
“I am old!” he joked in his on-court interview. “My body isn’t responding as well as it was when I was 20, but I’m clearly still in good shape.”
Taking full advantage of Van de Zandschulp’s 29 unforced errors, including four when he broke in the ninth game of set two, Mannarino was in control from the start, but had to fend off a strong attack from the Dutchman in set two.
“I think Botic didn’t start the match very well, but in the second set it was very tight,” said Mannarino, who did not get a break point. “He served well, put a lot of pressure and I was able to control my nerves and serve well at the key moments. I’m very happy with that.”
The Frenchman was now a ten-time finalist in singles on the TSWT and last took part in a title match in Nur-Sultan almost two years ago. His only trophy for singles at tour level came in 2019 in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.
Mannarino has jumped 13 places this week to number 52 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings and would rise to number 45 with the title.
In the second semi-final of the evening, Djere needed nine match points against Swiss qualifier Marc-Andrea Huesler to take a 7-6(3), 7-6(5) victory. The Croat lost six match points in a marathon match of eight twos at 4-5, and another at 5-6.
When he finally got a chance on his own pitch in the tiebreak, he made no mistake, as he advanced after two hours and 17 minutes.
“I’m not sure if I ever needed that many match points to win a match,” Djere said after the win. “I probably stopped counting after about six. He served really well in those moments and luckily when I got the first chance that was on my own serve, I converted it. I’m very happy with this win. It means a lot to me.” me.”
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Djere, who saved two match points from Richard Gasquet in the quarterfinals, is now 5-1 in tiebreaks. His win against Huesler was the first of his five Winston-Salem games to be decided in straight sets.
The 27-year-old will take his third tour-level title in his first final of 2022. Saturday’s game will also be his first hard court final on the TSWT.