Adrian Mannarino closed out perhaps the best ATP Tour season of his long career with his third title of the year on Saturday at the Sofia Open. The 35-year-old edged Great Britain’s Jack Draper 7-6(6), 2-6, 6-3 to win his fifth tour-level title and rise to No. 20 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.
“That’s definitely the best way to finish the year,” the Frenchman said post-match. “It’s been a great year and I’m a little bit exhausted but it’s really motivating when you’re doing well. I was playing great on court and I’m happy with the result.”
— ATP Tour (@atptour) November 11, 2023
If his position at No. 20 in the Live Rankings holds, Mannarino will become the French No. 1 in the next edition of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings — though fellow Frenchman Ugo Humbert, who is playing the Metz final on Saturday, could yet pass Mannarino with the title.
By following his Newport and Astana titles with the Sofia crown, Mannarino became the first Frenchman to win three titles in a season since Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (4) and Lucas Pouille (3) in 2017. He also increased his personal-best season win total to 43 this week, a tally that was also aided by a final run in Mallorca.
In an all-lefty Sofia final, Mannarino capitalised on the only two break points he created — one in each set he won — and battled from 15/40 in his final service game to close out the two-hour, 17-minute match. The Frenchman broke in the very first game of the match only to be broken right back and did not see another break chance until a huge return made it 4-2 in the final set.
The dramatic opening-set tie-break saw just a single mini-break, when Draper missed a backhand drop shot into the net at 6/6. The Briton responded well by stepping into the court to dominate set two, and he again fought hard after falling behind by a break in the final set. But ultimately Mannarino’s experience kept the 21-year-old waiting for his first ATP Tour title.
“That was really close'” Mannarino said of the match. “I got a little bit lucky at the end, It could have gone both ways. I don’t know what made the difference today, but it’s like this. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and I’m just a little bit more lucky today. “