After significant rain delays, which forced both semifinals be played at the same time and then interrupted them, the Rosmalen Grass Court Championships final is, at last, set. The semifinal between Thompson and Gasquet was interrupted with the Australian serving for the match but down a break-point and Mannarino and Coric had to take a rain check in an even weirder spot – the middle of the third-set tie-break. Both players managed to fair with that well – on Sunday the Australian reeled off three straight points to close it out, while Mannarino took four out of six points played. It’s a close call, but who has a better shot at lifting maiden ATP title?
Seventh time’s the charm at Rosmalen
Another Frenchman, Julien Benneteau never won an ATP final match in ten attempts. Mannarino will play his seventh tomorrow and is getting dangerously close to the infamous record. He lost his two previous grass court finals in Antalya in 2017 (lost to Yuichi Sugita) and 2018 (Damir Dzumhur).
The Frenchman reached the fourth round at Wimbledon three times (lost to Łukasz Kubot, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer) and is undoubtedly a great grass court player but this run comes a little bit out of nowhere. Mannarino won two matches in a row just twice this season (Delray Beach and Bordeaux Challenger) and at one point had a six-match losing streak. Somehow, he managed to rebuild himself this week, scoring very impressive victories over Thiemo De Bakker, Fernando Verdasco, David Goffin and Borna Coric.
The other side of the net
If Mannarino’s run is surprising, then Jordan Thompson’s one is miraculous. The Australian showed he can play on grass in the past, handing Andy Murray one of his worst defeats (at least since he became a top player) two years ago in Queens, but he’s never even reached an ATP semifinal before. Thompson is one of these players who are too good for the ATP Challenger Tour yet too weak for the main one.
The Australian beat Tommy Paul, Frances Tiafoe, Alex De Minaur and Richard Gasquet on his way to the finals. Can this be a sign of an upcoming breakthrough? The 25-year-old has a very nice all-round game, can hit hard and finish points off at the net or grind from the baseline when needed, yet for some reason couldn’t really find a good run on the ATP Tour prior to this week.
Will Mannarino choke it?
Six-time runner-up doesn’t sound that bad because you would expect that there would be at least one match versus someone like Djokovic, Nadal or Federer. However, the list is in fact much different. He took a set from Tomic and Dzumhur but failed to win one against Goffin, Khachanov, Sugita and Vesely. Today’s match against Borna Coric was yet another example that the Frenchman has a very tough time holding himself together mentally during high-pressure situations. Mannarino failed to take two match points on return at 5-3 only to get broken while serving for the match and have to finish it in a tie-break.
The Frenchman can easily frustrate his opponents because he creates little to no rhythm from the baseline. Experience is definitely on Mannarino’s side though and a guy who has won 13 ATP Challenger Tour titles can’t be that poor in finals. We think the match should be on his racket and if he can keep himself together mentally, he has a great shot at finally finding that maiden trophy which has eluded him for 4,5 years (he played his first final in Auckland 2015).
Pick: Mannarino in three
Rosmalen Main photo:
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