Tennis

Winston-Salem | Mannarino makes French tennis history

Adrian Mannarino who hails from Soisy-sous-Montmorency, a few kilometres north of Paris, became the oldest player to win the Winston-Salem Open and the first Frenchman to achieve that distinction after becoming the fifth Frenchman to reach the final.

It’s just something that I’ve [achieved] for now and I’m really happy with that Adrian Mannarino

And it wasn’t an easy start for the unseeded 34-year-old who had to save four match points in his opening match where he was forced to play through three tie-break sets before progressing past the Aussie qualifier, Christopher O’Connell.

He then advances past three seeded players, Albert Ramos Vinoals (8), Maxime Cressy (4) and the Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp (2) to make the final where after a strong start from his Serbian opponent, Laslo Djere, he swept to the second title of his career which he claimed after an-hour and 44-minutes, 7-6(1) 6-4.

“I’m just happy I won the tournament, no matter who won before or who’s going to win after,” Mannarino said in his post-match interview. “It’s just something that I’ve [achieved] for now and I’m really happy with that.”

Mannarino saved two break points to avoid going down a double break in the opening set before converting on his first break chance to level at 4-4. He then raced into the lead by winning the final six points of the tie-break.

“I had some trouble today to see the ball,” the Frenchman said of his slow start. “The conditions last night, playing at night with the cold weather was so different than playing today with hot weather and clear blue skies.

“So it took me a little bit of time to get used to it but I was able to keep my nerve and just be focussed on what I had to do. I was able to break back at 4-3 and then I kept being consistent until the end. I knew that Laslo had a really exhausting week and probably if we were going to have a tough battle, I would get the win because physically I was a little bit fresher.”

Set two opened with four love holds before the Frenchman made the crucial breakthrough in the set’s seventh game.

After missing out on a match point on return at 5-3, he then clinched victory with his fourth love hold, finishing with 20 winners.

In ranking terms Mannarino will now move up 20 places next week, to 45.

Matthew Ebden (L) and Jamie Murray are the doubles champions

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

In the doubles Jamie Murray teamed up for the first time with Aussie Matthew Ebden and the two veteran doubles players cruised through to the doubles title with 6-4 6-2 victory over Hugo Nysand of Monaco and Poland’s Jan Zielinski

It was Murray’s 27th doubles title at Tour level and Ebden’s 7th.

“When we spoke last week about playing here, I thought immediately it works perfectly,” Ebden said following their victory. “Jamie plays on the deuce court, I’ve been playing on the ad [side]. We’ve known each other a long time. First time [playing] together but we’ve known each other, we’ve seen each other around many times.

“You never really know how its going to go, but I like to think we both know what we’re doing out there and we’re lucky we executed a lot of good points and played a lot of big points well. That was the key to the week.”

Murray was equally delighted at their success.

“Really happy to win a title,” Murray said. “I think the level is so high on the Tour these days, it’s not easy to win.

“For me it was like, come here, play with Matt, a great partner, enjoy the week, see what we get out of it. We managed to go all the way and got a trophy over our heads.”

They only dropped one set during the week and saved at least two break points in every match, including seven in the opening round with both players crediting their strong service games as being their strength.

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