Adrian Mannarino started his week by saving four match points in the first round of the Winston-Salem Open. After surviving three tie-breaks in his opening match, the Frenchman didn’t drop another set en route to his second tour-level title.
With a 7-6(1), 6-4 win over Laslo Djere in Saturday’s final, the 34-year-old became the oldest champion in tournament history, as well as its first French champion.
“I’m just happy to have won the tournament, it doesn’t matter who won before or who will win after,” Mannarino said after the match. “It’s just something that I have [accomplished] so far and I’m really happy with it.”
Mannarino saved two break points to avoid getting a double break in the first set before converting his first break chance to level at 4-4. He then sprinted into the lead by winning the last six points of the tie-break.
“I struggled to see the ball today,” the Frenchman said of his slow start. “The conditions last night playing at night with the cold weather were so different from playing today with warm weather and clear blue skies.
“So it took me a bit of getting used to, but I was able to keep my cool and just focus on what I had to do. I was able to go back to 4 -3 and then I kept being consistent until the end I knew Laslo had a really grueling week and probably if we were to have a tough battle I would get the win because physically I was a bit Fresher.
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The second set opened with four love holds before the Frenchman made the crucial breakthrough in game seven of the set. After missing a match point on the return at 5-3, he clinched victory with his fourth love hold of the game lasting an hour and 44 minutes.
Finishing with 20 winners, Mannarino dominated behind the first serve, winning 83% (30/36) of the points on his first delivery. Having grown in the match, he dominated the latter stages against Djere, who went three sets in each of his first four matches before a grueling two-set semi-final win over Swiss qualifier Marc-Andrea Huesler.
The Frenchman has only lost serve four times in six matches this week and twice in his last five matches.
For a bit of additional history, Mannarino is also the second southpaw to win the Winston-Salem title after Jurgen Melzer in 2013. Melzer was the oldest champion in the event at 32 until Mannarino’s victory.
The Frenchman is the fourth southpaw to win a tour-level title this season (Rafael Nadal, 4; Cameron Norrie, 2; Albert Ramos-Vinolas, 1). With his title run, he moved up 20 places this week to No. 45 in the Pepperstone ATP Live rankings.
Djere was playing in his first hard-court final and went 5-2 in the tiebreaker this week after going 1-18 this season.