Hope will have run the duration of a set suspended for 28 minutes above Rod Laver Arena. A short half-hour timeout, totally insane, a monumental, unreal, incredible tie-break time that Rafael Nadal won with grinta, experience, composure, a not-so-academic at one point played ball in the middle. In a Topspin volley, the court is an uncontrollable volley that Mannarino sends into the net.
It was 16-14 in the tie-break in long overtime. Under the scorching sun and below 32°C, probably more places for the two men, hopes for the Frenchman suddenly vanished, and it necessarily brought some regrets with it.
Because if world number 5 pocketed the set on his seventh serve in the decisive game, “Manna” had four, two of which were “playable”. One at 8-7, the French went straight to the fault with a forehand in exchange for the second ball, and especially at 12-11 one badly negotiated a drop shot that was badly touched by the Spaniard and made an inadequately sharp diagonal backhand. , before protesting.
This was the turning point of this match. Behind this set of knives, Nadal had full control (7-6) to knock out Adrian Mannarino in the 16th round of the Australian Open in Melbourne on Sunday. , 6-2, 6-2). And we felt it. Moreover, at this point in 12-11, the Frenchman looked like he had hurt himself in the abdominal belt area. He didn’t say anything about it, he didn’t do “cinema” as usual. Then he tried to hold on. But mentally and physically, the rift was already deep.
“He was stiff during the warm-up this morning, he was having trouble warming up, his body was a little tight all around”
Also, the indices of the morning before the match weren’t much anyway. “Of course, if he wins the first set, it could be another game. He was already very physically affected after the games he played afterwards. (Market) He was getting hot in the morning, he was stiff, he was having a hard time warming up, his body was pulling a little all over him. It would be nice to think that we can lead such guys for the lead and confidence. But in the long run, it would be too complicated.”Admission is hot at the exit of the court, coach of “Manna” Arnaud Agniel.
With the victory of the first set, Nadal expelled the little fear, the little fear that had tormented him throughout the first lap. Because Nadal, who was faced with the straight play, timing and rhythm of Mannarino, who found the right areas and depth, did not rule back then. Far from there. His fists weren’t squirting like they used to. Fortunately, his serve was performing well (14 points out of 14 behind the first ball to start the game), but he was the 69th person in the world to dictate the game.
The effort had been in vain. And behind him, between the disappointment of seeing this set slip through his fingers and his already damaged physique, Mannarino was subjected to the weight and influence of Nadal, again much sharper and longer in this exchange, largely dominant over the next two laps. The Frenchman, who is nearly 58th in the world at the start of next week, should definitely draw a good amount of confidence from these three Australian matches and these two consecutive victories against the Top 15 (Hubert Hurkacz and Aslan Karatsev).
“In terms of attitude, it was once again flawless”He pointed out to his coach, who hopes this first Grand Slam of the year will boost the confidence and certainty of a player who often tends to lack it. For Nadal, the adventure continues, and Denis Shapovalov, not Alexander Zverev, will be in the quarterfinals. 6-3).