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Seventh Final The Charm For Mannarino, A First-Time Titlist In ‘s-Hertogenbosch

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.”

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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.”

Seventh Final The Charm For Mannarino, A First-Time Titlist In ‘s-Hertogenbosch

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.”

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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.”

Brilliant Berrettini Beats Felix For Stuttgart Title

Matteo Berrettini was the serving king all week in Stuttgart. And that did not change in the final.

The World No. 30 saved five set points in a second-set tie-break before defeating Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 7-6(11) on Sunday to win the MercedesCup for his third ATP Tour title, ending the #NextGenATP Canadian star’s hopes of claiming his first tour-level trophy.

“On grass, the first tournament of the year [on this surface] beating these unbelievable guys… there were a lot of tough moments,” said Berrettini, who did not lose a set during his run, ousting second seed Karen Khachanov in the second round. “I never lost my serve, but all the matches were so close and I’m really happy for what I did on the court because it was mentally really difficult to stay there and I’m really proud of myself.”

Both players served impeccably in the pressure-filled tie-break, with just three of the 24 points going against serve. But Berrettini converted on his third championship point after one hour and 47 minutes, aggressively hitting an inside-out forehand return off a second serve, which Auger-Aliassime replied to with a slice into the net.

Berrettini won all 50 of his service games this week, and captured more than 89 per cent of his first-serve points in the tournament, including 41 of 44 with the title on the line. The Italian, who also didn’t lose serve en route to his maiden title last year in Gstaad, did not face break point against Auger-Aliassime. Last year two additional players went unbroken en route to titles: Novak Djokovic in Shanghai and Alexander Zverev in Madrid.

“You’re feeling good during the week, but you never know. I played great guys. This match was unbelievable. We had chances, a lot of set points for him, match points for me, so it was a really tough one,” Berrettini said. “I’m really happy the way I fought during the week.”

Get To Know Berrettini:

Fabio Fognini has recently received a lot of attention for capturing his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters and becoming just the third man from his country to crack the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings, which he accomplished this week. But the 23-year-old Berrettini is not far behind, projected to climb to a career-high No. 22 on Monday.

Berrettini, the first Italian grass-court titlist since Andreas Seppi at 2011 Eastbourne, has won all three of his ATP Tour crowns in the past 11 months. When he triumphed in Gstaad last July for his maiden moment, he was just World No. 84. Berrettini was also victorious on the clay of Budapest in April.

“There were a lot of Italians [cheering for me] since day one, from the first practice, and they were asking for pictures,” Berrettini said. “I’m really happy because we are travelling a lot during the year and it’s always nice to meet some Italians and speak Italian also.”

The champion was successful in keeping Auger-Aliassime from gaining too much rhythm in the match. Between his strong serving and aggressive play, the 18-year-old was unable to dictate many rallies. Berrettini also used his dagger-like backhand slice a majority of the time off that wing to keep Auger-Aliassime off balance.

“It’s been an amazing week whatever the outcome [was] today. I think I surprised myself every match this week being able to reach another final and my first one on grass, so it’s been amazing,” said Auger-Aliassime, who was competing in his first grass-court tournament as a professional. “Obviously Matteo was too good today. I gave it my all, but he played good in the important moments and he deserves it.”

Auger-Aliassime

The only edge Berrettini needed in the first set was an early break at 1-1, when Auger-Aliassime made an unforced error by pushing a backhand approach shot into the net. The Italian lost just one point on his first-serve in the opener.

And in the second set, it felt as if it was a battle of strong serving. Auger-Aliassime battled hard to save two break points in the first game of the set and then dig out from a 0/40 hole at 2-3. But he was unable to take advantage of one of his five chances in the ensuing tie-break, with Berrettini serving well under pressure. And when the Italian missed his first serve, he was quick to take control of points with his forehand. 

Berrettini leaves Stuttgart with €117,050 in prize money and 250 ATP Ranking points, as well as plenty of momentum. The Italian will face sixth seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round of the NOVENTI OPEN in Halle.

Auger-Aliassime, who was trying to become the youngest ATP Tour singles champion since Kei Nishikori (18 years, 1 month, 19 days old) at 2008 Delray Beach, earns €63,290 and 150 points. On 27 May, the teenager became the youngest player to break into Top 25 since former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in 1999.

Did You Know?
Berrettini this week became the first player to reach the semi-finals on three different surfaces this season. He had never previously reached a tour-level grass-court semi-final.

Brilliant Berrettini Beats Felix For Stuttgart Title

Matteo Berrettini was the serving king all week in Stuttgart. And that did not change in the final.

The World No. 30 saved five set points in a second-set tie-break before defeating Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 7-6(11) on Sunday to win the MercedesCup for his third ATP Tour title, ending the #NextGenATP Canadian star’s hopes of claiming his first tour-level trophy.

“On grass, the first tournament of the year [on this surface] beating these unbelievable guys… there were a lot of tough moments,” said Berrettini, who did not lose a set during his run, ousting second seed Karen Khachanov in the second round. “I never lost my serve, but all the matches were so close and I’m really happy for what I did on the court because it was mentally really difficult to stay there and I’m really proud of myself.”

Both players served impeccably in the pressure-filled tie-break, with just three of the 24 points going against serve. But Berrettini converted on his third championship point after one hour and 47 minutes, aggressively hitting an inside-out forehand return off a second serve, which Auger-Aliassime replied to with a slice into the net.

Berrettini won all 50 of his service games this week, and captured more than 89 per cent of his first-serve points in the tournament, including 41 of 44 with the title on the line. The Italian, who also didn’t lose serve en route to his maiden title last year in Gstaad, did not face break point against Auger-Aliassime. Last year two additional players went unbroken en route to titles: Novak Djokovic in Shanghai and Alexander Zverev in Madrid.

“You’re feeling good during the week, but you never know. I played great guys. This match was unbelievable. We had chances, a lot of set points for him, match points for me, so it was a really tough one,” Berrettini said. “I’m really happy the way I fought during the week.”

Get To Know Berrettini:

Fabio Fognini has recently received a lot of attention for capturing his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters and becoming just the third man from his country to crack the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings, which he accomplished this week. But the 23-year-old Berrettini is not far behind, projected to climb to a career-high No. 22 on Monday.

Berrettini, the first Italian grass-court titlist since Andreas Seppi at 2011 Eastbourne, has won all three of his ATP Tour crowns in the past 11 months. When he triumphed in Gstaad last July for his maiden moment, he was just World No. 84. Berrettini was also victorious on the clay of Budapest in April.

“There were a lot of Italians [cheering for me] since day one, from the first practice, and they were asking for pictures,” Berrettini said. “I’m really happy because we are travelling a lot during the year and it’s always nice to meet some Italians and speak Italian also.”

The champion was successful in keeping Auger-Aliassime from gaining too much rhythm in the match. Between his strong serving and aggressive play, the 18-year-old was unable to dictate many rallies. Berrettini also used his dagger-like backhand slice a majority of the time off that wing to keep Auger-Aliassime off balance.

“It’s been an amazing week whatever the outcome [was] today. I think I surprised myself every match this week being able to reach another final and my first one on grass, so it’s been amazing,” said Auger-Aliassime, who was competing in his first grass-court tournament as a professional. “Obviously Matteo was too good today. I gave it my all, but he played good in the important moments and he deserves it.”

Auger-Aliassime

The only edge Berrettini needed in the first set was an early break at 1-1, when Auger-Aliassime made an unforced error by pushing a backhand approach shot into the net. The Italian lost just one point on his first-serve in the opener.

And in the second set, it felt as if it was a battle of strong serving. Auger-Aliassime battled hard to save two break points in the first game of the set and then dig out from a 0/40 hole at 2-3. But he was unable to take advantage of one of his five chances in the ensuing tie-break, with Berrettini serving well under pressure. And when the Italian missed his first serve, he was quick to take control of points with his forehand. 

Berrettini leaves Stuttgart with €117,050 in prize money and 250 ATP Ranking points, as well as plenty of momentum. The Italian will face sixth seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round of the NOVENTI OPEN in Halle.

Auger-Aliassime, who was trying to become the youngest ATP Tour singles champion since Kei Nishikori (18 years, 1 month, 19 days old) at 2008 Delray Beach, earns €63,290 and 150 points. On 27 May, the teenager became the youngest player to break into Top 25 since former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in 1999.

Did You Know?
Berrettini this week became the first player to reach the semi-finals on three different surfaces this season. He had never previously reached a tour-level grass-court semi-final.

Soares/Peers Claim Maiden Team Title In Stuttgart

John Peers and Bruno Soares lifted their first team title at the MercedesCup on Sunday, defeating Rohan Bopanna and Denis Shapovalov 7-5, 6-3.

Competing in just their second event as a pairing, the top seeds claimed 78 per cent of first-serve points (36/46) and saved both break points they faced to take the title after 68 minutes. Peers and Soares trailed Tim Puetz and Jan-Lennard Struff 4-6, 2-4 in the first round, before notching one of two Match Tie-break victories en route to the trophy. In their only previous appearance as a team, Peers and Soares reached the quarter-finals at this event in 2016.

“It feels amazing, especially after the first round,” said Soares. “We had a very tough draw, starting play against the Germans, Struff and Puetz. They played extremely well to be honest, we got lucky at the end… We were down a set and a break and from that moment, it just felt like the week just completely turned. We started playing extremely well and now, here we are one week later with the trophy.”

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In his 60th tour-level final, Soares improves to 31-29 in championship matches. The Brazilian was competing in his third final in Stuttgart after a runner-up finish in 2015 (w/Peya) and a title run in 2017 (w/J. Murray). Peers has now won 20 trophies from 32 tour-level finals.

“It is always great to get a title, especially in a place where you enjoy playing” said Peers. “It is great to get back on the grass.”

Bopanna and Shapovalov were also aiming to capture their first team trophy. In their first event as a team, the Indian-Canadian tandem defeated third seeds Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan in the first round, before back-to-back straight-sets wins to book its spot in the final.

Peers and Soares receive 250 ATP Doubles Ranking points and share €38,410 in prize money. Bopanna and Shapovalov gain 150 points and split €19,680.

“We served slightly better than they did and created a few more opportunities on return. [There was] not much in it at the end of the day,” said Peers.

Did You Know?
Peers and Soares is not a full-time doubles team. Peers is still competing with Henri Kontinen — they are two-time Nitto ATP Finals champions — and Soares will be partnering Mate Pavic.

Soares/Peers Claim Maiden Team Title In Stuttgart

John Peers and Bruno Soares lifted their first team title at the MercedesCup on Sunday, defeating Rohan Bopanna and Denis Shapovalov 7-5, 6-3.

Competing in just their second event as a pairing, the top seeds claimed 78 per cent of first-serve points (36/46) and saved both break points they faced to take the title after 68 minutes. Peers and Soares trailed Tim Puetz and Jan-Lennard Struff 4-6, 2-4 in the first round, before notching one of two Match Tie-break victories en route to the trophy. In their only previous appearance as a team, Peers and Soares reached the quarter-finals at this event in 2016.

“It feels amazing, especially after the first round,” said Soares. “We had a very tough draw, starting play against the Germans, Struff and Puetz. They played extremely well to be honest, we got lucky at the end… We were down a set and a break and from that moment, it just felt like the week just completely turned. We started playing extremely well and now, here we are one week later with the trophy.”

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In his 60th tour-level final, Soares improves to 31-29 in championship matches. The Brazilian was competing in his third final in Stuttgart after a runner-up finish in 2015 (w/Peya) and a title run in 2017 (w/J. Murray). Peers has now won 20 trophies from 32 tour-level finals.

“It is always great to get a title, especially in a place where you enjoy playing” said Peers. “It is great to get back on the grass.”

Bopanna and Shapovalov were also aiming to capture their first team trophy. In their first event as a team, the Indian-Canadian tandem defeated third seeds Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan in the first round, before back-to-back straight-sets wins to book its spot in the final.

Peers and Soares receive 250 ATP Doubles Ranking points and share €38,410 in prize money. Bopanna and Shapovalov gain 150 points and split €19,680.

“We served slightly better than they did and created a few more opportunities on return. [There was] not much in it at the end of the day,” said Peers.

Did You Know?
Peers and Soares is not a full-time doubles team. Peers is still competing with Henri Kontinen — they are two-time Nitto ATP Finals champions — and Soares will be partnering Mate Pavic.