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SportsTennis

France’s Mannarino tops Germany’s Gojowczyk at New York Open

Fourth seed credits off-court happiness for success as he advances in round of 16 match.

Adrian Mannarino makes the lunging backhand return against

Adrian Mannarino makes the lunging backhand return against Peter Gojowczyk in their men's singles match at the New York Open on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018 at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum. Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

To paraphrase an old saying: happy life, winning tennis. That’s what France’s Adrian Mannarino is preaching nowadays. Mannarino, 29, may be ranked 25th in world, but he’s still looking for his first ATP World singles title. He’s finally figured out the secret to success, though, and it has almost nothing to do with what goes on between the white lines.

“To me, my game didn’t change that much,” the fourth-seeded Mannarino said after beating Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk 6-7 (5), 7-5, 4-1 in a round of 16 singles match in the New York Open, held at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum Wednesday afternoon after Gojowczyk retired in the third set with an apparent injury. “I’m working with a new (coaching staff) since last year. It’s working well because the atmosphere off court is pretty good. I really enjoy my time traveling with these guys, and I have a new girlfriend. Everything to me is going pretty well. I’m pretty happy in my life. I think that’s the most important. To feel good on the court, you have to feel good off the court.”

Mannarino will face Spain’s Adrian Menendez-Maceiras in a singles quarterfinal Friday. Menendez-Maceiras topped France’s Jeremy Chardy 7-5, 7-6 (5) Wednesday.

Mannarino hopes that the new calm in his life leads to that elusive first singles championship. He is currently the highest ranked player in the world without one.

“For someone who’s ranked 25th like me, it’s maybe unusual,” Mannarino said. “I’m trying my best. I’ve been playing a couple of finals last year. I’m getting close, at least. My game is pretty consistent. I think, if I just keep working, I’m going to end up winning a title, hopefully. I’ll try my best.”

Mannarino has played in four finals in his career, losing twice in 2015 and twice in 2017. His most recent near-championship came in last fall’s Tokyo Open, when he lost to Germany’s David Goffin. He also lost in the finals of last June’s Antalya Open in Turkey, falling to Japan’s Yuichi Sugita.

Despite the monkey on his back, Mannarino said he doesn’t start thinking about a title until he gets deep into a tournament. So, on Wednesday, all that was on his mind was surviving and advancing. That was easier said than done. He lost a tough first set to Gojowczyk on a tiebreaker, despite feeling good on the court.

“I knew that Peter was a really good player. He beat me in the past and he’s really tough,” Mannarino said. “I was disappointed to lose the first set, but I was playing well and I just told myself that I should continue to play this way and see if there was any way to let him play one or two bad games.”

Mannarino won the final two games of the second set to pull even.

“I just kept my emotion and tried to do my best and finally it worked,” Mannarino said. “Sometimes, you just try your best in the match and you end up losing the match. Today worked great.”

New York Sports