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Adrian Mannarino vs Damir Dzumhur ATP Antalya Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Can last year's beaten finalist, Mannarino finally capture his first career title?

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 29 Jun 2018
  • Adrian Mannarino vs Damir Dzumhur is live from Antalya from 3:00pm local time/ 1:00pm BST
  • Mannarino won their only previous tour-level meeting back in 2014
Adrian Mannarino. (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

A year after just missing out on the title, Adrian Mannarino is back in the Antalya final, looking to go one step better. The Frenchman takes on Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur in the title match on Saturday.

Mannarino is still seeking his first tour-level title after falling short in four previous ATP finals. The 28-year-old lost in Auckland and Bogota in 2015, as well as in Antalya and Tokyo in 2017. His opponent, Dzumhur has enjoyed better luck in ATP World Tour finals, having claimed titles in St. Petersburg and Moscow in 2017. Will Dzumhur make it a hat-trick of titles on Saturday, or can Mannarino finally crack the ATP title code?

Mannarino entered the grass court season on a terrible run of form, having lost six straight matches before arriving at Queen’s, but he has had a sharp upturn in fortunes on grass, reaching the quarter finals at Queen’s (lost to Novak Djokovic) before advancing to a second straight final in Antalya. Mannarino isn’t the biggest hitter in the sport, but with his flat groundstrokes, good hand skills and ability to take the ball very early, the Frenchman has proven himself very competent on this surface; and will have his sights set on a decent run at Wimbledon. 

Before he heads to the All England Club, he has some unfinished business in Antalya, where he is looking to make up for last year’s final defeat to Yuichi Sugita. He opened the tournament with a straight sets victory over Ricardas Berankis before seeing off Joao Sousa, also in straight sets. Mannarino dropped his first set of the tournament against Gael Monfils in the semi-finals; but he rebounded from the loss of the opening set to record a 4-6 7-6 6-4 victory.

The first nine games of the opening set featured no break points, but Mannarino faltered while serving to stay in it, dropping his serve to concede the set. The world number 24 hit back to take the second set on a tie break, before scoring the decisive break late in the deciding set to complete the win after two hours and four minutes.

"It was tricky," Mannarino said after the match. "Even in the tight moments, I was staying very calm and trying to just play as smart as I could and it worked out. I'm really happy with the performance today."

Mannarino is now just one match away from his first ATP World Tour title, but the Frenchman faces a difficult challenge against the tenacious Damir Dzumhur.

Dzumhur hasn’t been known for his exploits on grass, but he has looked very good this week in advancing to his first final on the surface. 

Damir Dzumhur. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Even at Queen’s, where he fell in the opening round, he showed enough in the loss against Grigor Dimitrov to suggest that he can be effective on grass. There has been further manifestation of that in Antalya. Dzumhur saw off Marius Copil in three sets in the opening round, before straight-setting his way past Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Jiri Vesely to book his spot in the final.

“It’s the first time I have played two tournaments on grass prior to Wimbledon,” said Dzumhur. “So I have never given myself the chance to play well on grass. I did feel like I could play well, but I needed matches. I came here with some confidence and I feel my game is quite good for this surface. I played better and better from the second round on.”

Dzumhur came from a break down in both sets against Vesely; and saved two set points late in the second set before closing out a 6-3 7-6 victory over the Czech left-hander.

Prior to August last year, the Bosnian was yet to make an ATP final, but a strong second half yielded three finals- he lost the first at Winston Salem, but then won the other two in St. Petersburg and Moscow.

The first half of 2018 hasn’t been as kind- until Antalya- as his previous best performances were quarter finals in Montpellier and Marseille, while he also reached the third round at the Australian Open and Roland Garros, where he pushed Alexander Zverev to five sets. However, there have been a host of opening round exits, including at Masters 1000 tournaments at Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo and his grass court opener at Queen’s.

Dzumhur’s Antalya’s run is the first time he has won three consecutive matches in 2018- can he take it all the way to the title by beating Mannarino on Saturday?

"It's going to be a really hard match tomorrow. My opponent is playing really well," said Mannarino. "A final is always a different match because there's a lot of pressure. Both players are getting a little bit stressed, usually. I'm going to try to handle the situation as much as I can and I'll try to play my best tennis."

Mannarino won their only previous tour-level meeting in Winston Salem in 2014, while the Frenchman was also victorious in a Challenger meet in Sarajevo in 2013. Dzumhur thrives on his mobility and strong defence, but Mannarino presents the awkward challenge of keeping the ball low, a quality that is accentuated by the skiddy grass. The Frenchman owns a better grass court pedigree than Saturday’s opponent, and for me, is a slight favourite heading into the Antalya final.

Adrian Mannarino vs Damir Dzumhur is live from Antalya from 3:00pm local time/ 1:00pm BST

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Adrian Mannarino vs Damir Dzumhur ATP Antalya Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Can last year's beaten finalist, Mannarino finally capture his first career title?

Adrian Mannarino and Damir Dzumhur go head-to-head on Saturday to battle for the Antalya title. Can Mannarino go one step better that last year? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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