© Astana Open

Adrian Mannarino in action in Astana on Friday.

Mannarino Breaks New Ground, Reaches Astana Doubles Final

Frenchman reaches first tour-level doubles final

At the age of 34, Adrian Mannarino is breaking new ground. The Frenchman made his first tour-level doubles final on Friday at the Astana Open, combining with compatriot Fabrice Martin to beat Polish duo Hubert Hurkacz and Jan Zielinski 2-6, 6-2, 10-5.

The last time Mannarino won a doubles title at any level came 15 years ago, when he bagged four at Futures level.

“I didn’t even know it was my first doubles final. No, I won’t get emotional with this one,” said the left-hander, who has reached 11 singles finals, including when Astana first hosted an ATP event in 2020.

“I hope we’re going to make it all the way. Let’s try to build something out of this tournament.”

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Mannarino’s day did not begin as he hoped.

He faced Andrey Rublev in the singles quarter-finals, having won their last ATPHead2Head on an indoor hard court — like Astana’s playing conditions — in Moscow last year. But Rublev needed just 55 minutes to advance and set up a semi-final clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Tsitsipas downed Hurkacz, so one of the two losing quarter-finalists in the day session was bound to be a little happier after the doubles. It turned out to be Mannarino.

“I was just trying not to think about what happened earlier in the day,” said Mannarino. “I didn’t play such a good match, but Andrey played really good.

“I think my level wasn’t that bad, actually, so I was just trying to make my best and give a good quality in doubles, and it worked out pretty well in the end.”

The end of the contest is where Mannarino and Martin especially thrived against Hurkacz and Zielinski, who won the crown at the Moselle Open in Metz last year and landed in the semi-finals at the ATP Masters 1000 Canada in August. From 4-4 in the match tiebreak, the French duo reeled off six of the last seven points.

The most memorable came at 6-5, when the quartet produced perhaps one of the finest doubles points of the season. Hurkacz held firm to volley Mannarino’s lasered forehand, before Martin later pulled off an instinctive half-volley from Hurkacz’s drive off a net-cord.

The point ended with a Martin put away at net — and smiles from Mannarino, Martin and Hurkacz.

Martin, No. 54 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, reached his 19th career doubles final but first of the season.

“It’s super nice. I’ve had a tough year this year,” said the 36-year-old. “Trying to find a partner, and I felt I was playing great the whole year, physically well. Luckily, Adrian was keen to play doubles. We’re great friends and always have fun on court so that was a good option to finish the year well.”

Mannarino and Martin upset top-seeds Tim Puetz and Michael Venus in the quarter-finals. To go all the way, they will have to beat second-seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic.

They topped third-seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos 3-6, 7-6 (4), 10-7 in a repeat of last year’s Wimbledon final the Croatians also won.

Mektic and Pavic began their comeback by saving four break points to start the second set and also trailed 4-2 in the second set tiebreak.

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