STO Top seed Mannarino, books his spot in the last 8, after defeating huge serving Marcora!
By Lynelle Lim
In the second last match on day 4 of the Singapore Tennis Open, top seed Adrian Mannarino from France (whose rank is #35), went up against Italy’s Roberto Marcora (ranked #191), for a spot in the last 8.
Marcora started strong taking the first game in just under a minute against the top seed. The Frenchman, on the other hand, found himself in trouble going down 15-30, but steadied himself and held his serve for 1-1. The third game saw Mannarino hit deep groundstrokes and rallied back from 15-40 to win Advantage for his first break point. The Italian saved it by taking a backhand on the rise and ripping a down the line winner before requiring two more game points to hold serve. The first seed seemed to be still finding his rhythm as he found himself in trouble down 1-2 (0-30) on his serve. Mannarino then served a double fault at 30-30 to give his opponent a break point, but an ace down the T brought the game to deuce.
The Frenchman seemed to be easing into the match by moving the ball and setting the point up well, but a missed backhand approach shot gave Marcora another break point. After saving it and setting up a game point, the lefty had a high quality exchange with his opponent. In what seemed to be the rally of the match so far, both players hit the ball cleanly, before the top seed came out on top and levelling the score at 2-2. The next game saw the top seed claw back from 15-40 to get a break point chance and go to deuce multiple times.
A second break point came and Marcora missed a routine shot to give his opponent the break. The number 1 seed quickly backed the break to lead 4-2. Mannarino’s deep and flat groundstrokes looked to cause problems for Marcora, but the latter dug deep to get an important hold. The lefty saved a break point with a flat serve down the T again and held his serve, denying Marcora of a comeback. Mannarino quickly found himself with 3 set points, but he only converted on his third after the Italian hit the net. Both players saw break points but Mannarino converted 2/6 whereas Marcora was at 0/3. And the top seed secured the 1st set 6-3.
Booming with confidence, the top seed got off to a strong start in the 2nd set and held his serve easily. Marcora then found himself three break points down, but quickly got out of that situation by delivering huge first serves, which forced the Frenchman to make a few consecutive forehand forced errors and levelled the match at 1-1. Both played brilliant points with jaw-dropping rallies and held their respective serves to make the match equal at 5-5.
Mannarino hit heavy lefty serves and held to love which gave him a 6-5 lead, as well as a chance to move one step forward for a spot in the quarterfinal. Marcora who was serving to stay alive in the tournament, felt the pressure and looked to be anxious, as he started rushing the points with low trajectory shots, and failed to keep himself in the rallies. The No 1 seed who remained calm and composed throughout the entire match, found himself 2 match points up before converting his first one to wrap up the match 6-3, 7-5 after a backhand unforced error into the net came about from Marcora.
The Frenchman displayed a remarkable performance with staggering defence, and knew how to play the right tennis in the right moments on crucial points. Mannarino made use of his short compact swings to take the ball on the rise and went for many down the line shots. This did not give the Italian enough time to recover and cover the court. Despite being up in the score, the top seed was fully committed and extremely disciplined with his patterns. Credit ought to be given to Marcora for hanging in there with enormous hitting and crafty dropshots, but he came up short to take down Mannarino.
The top seed will play tomorrow for a spot in the last 4 against the 6th seed, Radu Albot. It will be an interesting match as both players have a similar style of game, which is to counterpunch and use a variety of shots to keep their opponents on the move. Both Mannarino and Albot are also great movers so it will be exciting to see them push each other to the limit.
(Edited by Raj Kumar)
Lynelle Lim is a full-time tennis player and part of the national Team Singapore setup. She’s represented the Republic in various prestigious and renowned events such as the Federation Cup, WTA Future Stars, as well as the 2019 SEA Games. At the age of 13, she made the decision to take a route less familiar because she had an extremely strong desire to become a competitive tennis player. And today, Lynelle feels proud and fortunate to say that tennis has given her a great deal, and it’s taught her so much more than she could ever imagine. Aged 20 and watching the game from a different perspective, she’s looking forward to writing about the Singapore Tennis Open, featuring world class players from the Men’s ATP Tour!
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