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By Richard Pagliaro | Thursday, October 21, 2021

 
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Adrian Mannarino saved a match point in a 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-3 upset of top-seeded Andrey Rublev avenging his loss to the Russian in the 2019 Moscow final.

Photo credit: Getty

Amnesia is an ally for experienced players.

Top players forget the prior point or a past defeat to focus on the here and now.

More: Tiafoe Praises "True Inspiration" Murray

Total recall—and a steady hand denying match point—activated Adrian Mannarino’s 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-3 upset of top-seeded Andrey Rublev in Moscow today.

The 33-year-old Mannarino clearly remembered the 6-4, 6-0 thrashing Rublev inflicted on him in the 2019 Kremlin Cup final and was in no mood for replay.

The left-handed Mannarino muffled righty Rublev’s bone-jarring power with soft touch and clever angles advancing to his third ATP 250 quarterfinals of the season.




The 51st-ranked Frenchman will face Ricardas Berankis for a semifinal spot.

Lucky loser Berankis broke serve five times flogging Federico Coria 6-2, 6-1 in 68 minutes.

It is Berankis’ fourth quarterfinal appearance in Moscow where he defeated Mannarino in the 2017 semifinals en route to the final bowing to champion Damir Dzumhur.

Mannarino has won four of six meetings with Berankis, but both of the Lithuanian’s victories have come on Russian soil.

Though Mannarino failed to survive the opening round in three of his last four tournaments, including Indian Wells, he has good vibes in Moscow where his flat strokes have helped him reach successive finals.

The top-seeded Rublev served for the first set at 5-3, but Mannarino broke and confirmed the break to level after 10 games.

Running around his backhand, Rublev ripped heavy forehands breaking in the 12th game for a one-set lead.

Brief backswings and fine feel helped Mannarino redirect the blasts Rublev detonated. Mannarino broke for a 4-3 second-set lead and served for the set only to see Rublev break back for 5-all.

The Frenchman imposed his lefty forehand crosscourt to Rublev’s less lethal two-handed backhand at the right times. Staring down match point at 5-6, Mannarino erased it coaxing a Rublev netted backhand. The Frenchman cruised through the tiebreaker to force a final set.

Tennis Express

An increasingly frustrated Rublev couldn’t hit through Mannarino and was muttering to himself and grabbing at his shirt in physical expressions of disgust. Mannarino directed a pair of returns right back at Rublev drawing a pair of errors to break for 3-1 in the decider.

A calm Mannarino calm back from 15-30 down in the following game backing up the break for 4-1. Mannarino closed in two hours, 29 minutes.

It was a day of upsets as fourth-seeded Filip Krajinovic also fell. Spaniard Pedro Martinez broke Krajinovic in his opening service game of both sets scoring a 6-3, 6-4 victory. Martinez meets sixth-seeded Marin Cilic for a place in the final four. 

 

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