Thursday, 16 January 2014

Ferrer's Round Two Roller Coaster

The next French player to venture on to Hisense Arena was Adrian Mannarino, and his task, on paper at least, read pretty tough.
It was to dismantle the number three seed, Spain's David Ferrer.  Not much had been spoken of Ferrer when discussing chances for the title this year, and the almost dismissive nature is rather insulting to a player who has featured in semi finals at many Grand Slam tournaments including here, and was runner up at Roland Garros last year.

Ranked 71 in the world Mannarino had only made the second round once prior to this and that was three years ago.  Not a lot was running for him - he even lost the warm up according to many - however that changed once the match proper began in earnest. (or Melbourne as some prefer to call it)
Amidst all the moving arms and legs and awkwardness, Mannarino managed to assemble enough points to warrant the chair umpire awarding him the opening game and Ferrer was unhappy particularly as it was his serve that was broken in the procedure.

Never mind that problem - Spanish eyes were daggers when Adrian had the temerity to consolidate the break by holding serve in the most unconvincing fashion recorded in the Open Era of tennis.  David Ferrer, third seed I remind you, was broken for the second time out of two attempts, and Mannarino was tearing away with the first set, leading 3-0 with a serve to come, yet not playing like someone with that scoreline in their pocket.

Sanity soon prevailed after a successful coup rid us of the ridiculousness that briefly brought us to this point - one break of service was returned with thanks. The standard of tennis, sadly, was still woeful in comparison to what we had witnessed in the match before.

At 3-2 Mannarino held serve to steady things and lead 4-2, leaving Ferrer with little room to move if he was to save the first set.  His backhand had let him down badly, and unless he replaced it with a new model, he or his hopes I should say, could end up down the toilet.

The eighth game was pivotal not for anything interesting to look at, but statistically the game score reached 4-4 as Adrian came back to earth from dreamland, serve broken.  And with that came a sharp shift from mediocrity to OK-ness.

Ferrer served competently and his groundstrokes resembled those of a man who reached last years semi final, while Mannarino played shots with a crispness that his "twin" from earlier in the piece would have had no idea how to approach.
A first set tiebreak settled the outcome of set one and to no ones surprise the experience and talent of Ferrer permitted him to win the decider comfortably.

Ferrer entered the second set with a similar vein of form, picking up the spoils of the first game with little trouble, forehands notably causing a French fiasco.  Then from the peak the valley just as quickly imposed itself, the standard of the Spanish player in rapid decline.  Adrian, the recipient of four successive games, including 2 dropped Ferrer serves, went out with some mates to celebrate, only to find on his return to court that Ferrer's crew had broken in and stolen some of the goods.  The damage was estimated to extend to three games which police are saying officially means that the match ended up at that point square 4-4.

While charges were being brought and insurance worked out, more tennis was played, enabling a disappointed Mannarino to retain the match lead at 6-5.  When he broke free in the twelfth game and was able to lay some excellent backhands on Ferrer, the set was his 7-5, and the match even at a set apiece.

The third set was won 6-0 by Ferrer who hardly made a mistake in direct contrast to Mannarino's error ridden display.  Not much else to say other than Ferrer led two sets to one with good momentum.
Rather than meekly surrender, Mannarino kept Ferrer honest in the fourth and what would prove to be final set, dropping serve just the once on the way to congratulating the Spanish number three seed on his 7-6 5-7 6-0 6-3 win.

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