© Kate Whitney Lucey

Adrian Mannarino tumbó a Sam Groth en Newport.

Mannarino Overcomes Powerful Groth In Newport

Frenchman into quarter-finals

Adrian Mannarino topped big-serving Sam Groth 7-6(6), 6-3 in the second round of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships on Thursday. The sixth-seeded Frenchman was patient, overcoming a two-break deficit in the first set, then out-waiting a long rain delay before closing out the win in 92 minutes. Groth hit nine aces and won 22 of 25 first-serve points, but only landed 40 per cent of first serves and was broken three times by the consistent left-hander.

"His second serve is faster than my first serve, so you never know what to expect with him," said Mannarino, who secured the opening tie-break 8-6 before the players were forced off the court due to inclement weather. "I think he got a little bit too relaxed on his serve at 5-1 and they key for me was his service game at 5-3. I was able to return well and then was really consistent in the second set after we came back from the rain delay."

In the quarter-finals, Mannarino will face another strong server in the form of No. 3 seed Gilles Muller. Muller edged Victor Estrella Burgos 7-6(7), 6-4 to improve to 2-0 in the pair’s FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry. 

"I was up a break up twice in the [first] set and had many set points in the tie-break. It was frustrating that I couldn’t take those chances, but I told myself to stay calm. If I kept playing the way I was playing, I knew I would get more chances," said Muller. The left-hander from Luxembourg, who fired 11 aces and went 3-for-10 on break points, has never dropped a set against the Dominican. The win was Muller's first in Newport (1-3). He improved to 11-4 on grass this season and is into his fourth grass-court quarter-final of the year ('s-Hertogenbosch, Queen's and Nottingham).

Fourth seed Marcos Baghdatis roared back from a break down in the second set to win 6-2, 7-5 against Dudi Sela in the quarter-finals. Baghdatis dropped serve three times, but broke Sela six times (6/11) to secure victory in 80 minutes. The Cypriot won five of the first six games in the opening set, then swept the last five games of the match to advance.

“I was very tight the whole match and thought Dudi was as well. We’ve known each other for a long time and traveled together from a very young age. We know each other’s families very well. It’s tough playing against him because of that,” said Baghdatis. “You don’t want to show too many emotions because it’s one of your best friends on tour. I think maybe I returned better than him and it paid off in the end.”

Skupskis Win In Doubles

Brothers Ken Skupski and Neal Skupski, seeded third, overcame a late challenge from Brian Baker and Rajeev Ram to win 7-6(4), 3-6, 10-6. The Brits will face second seeds Groth and Chris Guccione in the semi-finals.

Adil Shamasdin and Jonathan Marray eased into the semi-finals with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Brydan Klein and Yuichi Sugita. Shamasdin/Marray did not hit an ace, but won 12 of 14 second-serve points and did not drop serve in the 46-minute win.

More stories like this in: