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 did not drop another set on his way to his second tour-level title.
With a 7-6(1), 6-4 victory against Laslo Djere in Saturday’s final, the 34-year-old became the oldest champion in the tournament’s history, as well as its first French champion.
“I’m just happy I won the tournament, no matter who won before or who’s going to win after,” Mannarino said post-match. “It’s just something that I’ve [accomplished] 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 sprinted 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.”
MANNARINO 🔥@AdrianMannarino is the #WSOpen 2022 Champion after defeating Djere 7-6, 6-4 🙌@WSOpen pic.twitter.com/g5j4mYdgyY
— ATP Tour (@atptour) August 27, 2022
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 clinched victory with his fourth love hold of the one-hour, 44-minute match.
Finishing with 20 winners, Mannarino was dominant behind first serve, winning 83 per cent (30/36) of points on his first delivery. After growing into the match, he commanded the late stages against Djere, who played three sets in each of his first four matches before a gruelling two-set semi-final victory against Swiss qualifier Marc-Andrea Huesler.
The Frenchman dropped serve just four times in six matches on the week, and twice in his last five matches.
For some added history, Mannarino is also the second left-hander to win the Winston-Salem title after Jurgen Melzer in 2013. Melzer was the event’s oldest champion at 32 until Mannarino’s victory.
The Frenchman is the fourth lefty to win a tour-level title this season (Rafael Nadal, 4; Cameron Norrie, 2; Albert Ramos-Vinolas, 1). With his title run, he has moved up 20 places this week to No. 45 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.
Djere was competing in his first hard-court final and posted a 5-2 record in tie-breaks this week after a previous mark of 1-18 on the season.