Australian comeback man, John Millman, to meet Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in Finals of Astana Open

31.10.2020    Views: 568
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Author: Tennis Federation of Kazakhstan

Nur-Sultan, October 31 (Media Release): Fourth seeded John Millman  came back from being 0-3 in the third set  to advance past American Frances Tiafoe and he will now meet  third seeded Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in the singles finals  of  the  ATP 250 Astana Open which is being played at the National Tennis Centre in Nur -Sultan, Kazakhstan.

In the semi-finals, fourth seeded Australian John Millman, who had  saved 2 match points against American Tommy Paul in the previous round, came back from being 0-3 down in the third set against another American Frances Tiafoe, to  set up a thrilling  3-6,6-4,6-4 win in 2 hours 8mins and make it to his third career ATP Tour final.

32 year old,  world no 39  and third seeded French player, Adrian Mannarino, put an end  to the splendid run of Finnish qualifier Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland 7-5, 6-2 in a 1hr40 minute match to make it to his first ATP Tour final of the season.

While Mannarino will be looking for his  second title, having won  Hertogenbosch(2019), Millman will be seeking his first career ATP Tour title.

With his win today, the 31 year old World No. 45, Australian Millman, extended his  head to head record over Tiafoe to 3-1 to reach his third final of his career after reaching two previous finals in Budapest (2018) and Japan (2019) .

Millman, whose best performance this year was reaching the quarterfinals at the ATP tour event in Auckland in the beginning of the year, was  broken in the 7th and the 9th games  in the first set  by Tiafoe who captured the set 6-3.

In the second set, Millman seemed to regain the momentum against the  22 year  World No. 64 Frances Tiafoe and he broke serve in the 9th game of the set with a beautiful backhand down the line and followed up by holding serve in the 10th game, playing some superb tennis, to win the set  second 6-4.    

Tiafoe, who was No. 2 player this week in terms of aces (18) and No. 3 in terms of 1st serve return pts  won (36%),  kept up the tempo and raced to a 3-0 lead in the third set  by breaking Millman at love in the second game of the set to go up 2-0. Millman had  a break point at 30-40 against Tiafoe in the next game but couldn’t convert and went down 3-0.

The Australian held on to his serve in the 4th game  to bring the score to 3-1. He  then broke Tiafoe in the 5th game, after some amazing rallies, to get the score  to 2-3 before holding serve in the  6th game  to level scores to 3/3. Both players then held on to their serves  to bring the score to 4-4.

In the 9th game Tiafoe was down 0-40 and then saved 3 breakpoints. However, on the fourth breakpoint Millman hit a superb forehand down the line to  win the game and go up 5-4 to lead inn the match for the first time . In the crucial 10th game Millman attacked Tiafoe on his backhand, which had looked vulnerable throughout the match today, and proceeded to hold his serve to capture the match and to advance to  his first  final of the year.

"It was a tough match and I am super happy. It’s certainly been a tough road to the finals .
It was such a difficult match today against Frances and I needed to play high quality tennis throughout. It was a very physical match and of course Frances is a dangerous player ", said Millman speaking to the media after the match

He added" I got the momentum midway through the second set to win the second set but then Frances flew off to a great start in the 3rd set but I never gave up and I kept the pressure up . I was happy to find my feet and was able to get back in the match and I am proud that I never backed away from the fight ".

It’s great feeling to be in a final and it would be nice to get the big one tomorrow and win the tournament. I have had a lot of fun and enjoyed the tournament and the great atmosphere here".

Speaking about the “tennis bubble” lifestyle he said " we’ve been in bubbles for over 3/4 months now at all the tournaments which means we just go from the hotel to the venue and back again. We cannot go out and this is quite taxing mentally.
It’s not about the physical demands this year but mentally I feel like it’s the longest year.

“Also I have not been able to go back home to Australia due to the strict conditions and restrictions so I have been constantly on the move”  Millman added.

In the second semi-finals,  Frenchman  Mannarino took 1hr and 40 minutes to score a 7-5,6-2 win over the  21 year old  World No. 98 qualifier, Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland, who had made it to his first ever ATP Tour semi-finals of his сareer

Mannarino,  who leads the  tournament this week in service games won (15 of 16- 94%), reak pts. saved (6 of 7, 86%), 1st serve return pts. won (42%), 2nd serve return pts. won (73%) and return games won (9 of 15, 60%), got the decisive break of serve against the Finnish player in the 11th game of the first set  after both  players had traded breaks earlier in the set.

In the second set, Mannarino took control of the match and broke Ruusuvuori twice, in the 1st and the 5th games, to record an easy second set 6-2 win.

"I'm happy to keep progressing this week and I think I have played well. Ruusuvuori was in control of the match in the early part of the first set , but I did well to hang in there and to capture the first set.  I've been playing consistently from the baseline but will have to work on my first serve ", said Mannarino after the match  He added "   I've played John a couple of times before and I am sure that it's going to be a good match . John is a good friend and great guy and I'm happy to play him in the finals tomorrow.

"Today was a challenging match for me  with many long rallies. It was my sixth match in a row, said the young Finn Ruusuvuori after the match but overall it has been a very positive week for me  and I have gained a lot of  experience. I have learned a lot", he concluded.

RESULTS   SINGLES    SEMI FINALS

[3] Adrian Mannarino (FRA) d  [Q] Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN ) 7-5,6-2

[4] John Millman (AUS) d  Frances Tiafoe (USA)     3-6,6-4,6-4


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