In his seventh ATP Tour final, Adrian Mannarino finally captured his first tour-level crown at the Libema Open on Sunday.
After finishing off his semi-final win against second seed Borna Coric earlier in the day, the 30-year-old battled past Jordan Thompson 7-6(7), 6-3 in two hours and one minute. Mannarino lost his first five tour-level matches of the year, but has claimed victory in 11 of his 19 matches since arriving in Delray Beach.
“People are going to stop talking [about my finals record],” said Mannarino. “In France, we have another player, Julien Benneteau, who lost 10 finals and never won a title. Every time I was losing a [final] I was on my way to Benneteau… This is a big achievement for me. I am not pretending to be Top 10 or anything. Winning a title on the ATP Tour level is already something amazing for me and I cannot be more thankful to all the people who helped me get to this title.”
Mannarino improves to 3-1 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Thompson, with each of his three wins over the Aussie coming on grass courts. The Frenchman, who saved six of seven break points in the championship match, also defeated Thompson on the surface at this event in 2017 and at the Hall of Fame Open last year.
The World No. 44 defeated three seeded opponents in five matches at the ATP 250 event this week. Mannarino overcame fourth seed Fernando Verdasco and fifth seed David Goffin, before his final-set tie-break win against Coric in the semi-finals.
“During my matches with Verdasco and Goffin, I was enjoying the moment because I was feeling good on court,” said Mannarino. “I was down in the score but I was really having a good time on court and this is probably why I didn’t get nervous when I had to close the matches.”
After breaking to love in the opening game of the match, Mannarino surrendered his break advantage at 3-2 as Thompson began to win the battle of the forehands. The Aussie stepped into the court with power to earn break point, before Mannarino gifted the break back after firing a forehand into the tramline.
A tie-break was needed to separate the two men bidding for their first ATP Tour title and it was Mannarino who found his best level in the crucial moments. Facing two set points at 4/6, Mannarino served with power and capitalised on multiple forehand errors, before eventually clinching the set with a pinpoint backhand passing shot on the run.
Mannarino increased his advantage early in the second set with patience from the baseline, as Thompson misfired on his forehand side to take a 3-1 lead. The Frenchman then charged to victory, holding to love at 5-3 to clinch the title as Thompson fired a backhand return beyond the baseline.
Before arriving in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Thompson had never reached the semi-finals of an ATP Tour event. As a result of his run to the championship match, the 25-year-old Australian is projected to crack the Top 50 of the ATP Rankings for the first time on Monday.
“[I am] feeling disappointed to lose in that final, but I am very happy to make my first final,” said Thompson. “It was a great week for me… I really took advantage of playing well on the grass. It is disappointing to lose in the final, but a great week nonetheless.”
Mannarino receives 250 ATP Ranking points and collects €109,590 for claiming his first ATP Tour trophy. Thompson gains 150 ATP Ranking points and receives €59,255.
“This is a place that I never really played well in the past. I have been playing this tournament many times… and I was not expecting anything from this week,” said Mannarino. “I hadn’t been playing really well on clay, I was injured too. I came here and [thought], ‘Okay, let’s try to get ready for the next tournament, at least’ and things went really well.”