The last regular season final has arrived, with Jack Draper taking on Adrian Mannarino for the ATP Sofia title. In a tournament at the 250 level, Draper is vying for his first ATP title, making an impressive late-season comeback after an injury-riddled season. Meanwhile, veteran Mannarino is looking for his fifth ATP title, continuing to play his best tennis late in his career. As always, we at LWOT provide our prediction and analysis for the final. Who will prevail?
ATP Sofia Final Prediction
Jack Draper vs. Adrian Mannarino
Head-to-Head: First meeting
Both players haven’t faced a ton of pressure during their road to the ATP Sofia final. After a bye in the first round, No. 2 seed Mannarino did drop one set to Sebastian Ofner but fought back valiantly to win. Following that match, he won 6-2 7-6 (2) against Patel Kotov in the semifinals. On the other hand, Draper hasn’t dropped a set en route to this match, notably taking out No. 1 seed Lorenzo Musetti 7-5 6-2 and No. 3 seed Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3 6-4. Mannarino came into this tournament on a three-match losing streak, while Draper had the confidence coming off an ATP Challenger Tour victory in Bergamo. With the four wins he’s already picked up in Bulgaria, he is now on an impressive nine-match winning streak.
In addition to both players’ lefty talent, they have similar game styles on the court. Draper can serve slightly faster compared to Mannarino, but both players consistently place their serves well. As a result, both players have a high ace count at ATP Sofia; Draper fired 30 aces in four matches this tournament, compared to Mannarino’s 24 in three. The two do contrast slightly with their style of groundstrokes, as Draper’s forehand fires with lots of spin. Mannarino will look to counter with his flat and low-bouncing groundstrokes, notably with the Frenchman able to move opponents around the courts with deft angles.
Draper has seemingly had the talent to pull off an ATP title but suffered an unfortunate shoulder injury after the French Open. With nine matches under his belt in two weeks, it will be important for Draper’s body to hold up in arduous conditions. Especially after only returning to the tour two months ago, he’ll have to be prepared physically to the fullest extent. Mannarino’s level of play will be far more predictable, as he typically brings a consistent game to the court. The Frenchman will have to avoid Draper dictating play, with Draper’s winning streak putting pressure on Mannarino.
In the end, confidence will be the biggest factor in this match. Ultimately, this entire situation feels like a renaissance for Draper, and he has the motivation and tennis to end his year on a high. With that, Draper may be the slight favorite in this match, and I feel he’ll pick up a three-set win to claim his maiden ATP title. Of course, Mannarino’s consistency may force some debilitating nerves on the finalist debutant, but Draper’s firepower may give him the slight edge.
Prediction: Draper in 3
Main Photo Credit: Jerry Lai – USA TODAY Sports