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Djokovic marches on, defeats Mannarino in three-set thriller

By Jacob Akindele
30 June 2016   |   2:34 am
Djokovic held serve to lead 1-0 in the second set and broke Mannarino for 2-0. He lost only one point to win the third game for a stretch of five straight games.
Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates beating France's Adrian Mannarino in their men's singles second round match on the third day of the 2016 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on June 29, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK /

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates beating France’s Adrian Mannarino in their men’s singles second round match on the third day of the 2016 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on June 29, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK /

Novak Djokovic’s 6/4; 7; 6/3; 7/6 defeat of Adrian Mannarino did not reflect the closeness and intensity of the epic match on Centre Court. In the very first game of the match, the Frenchman had three opportunities to break serve, yet lost the game. Had he converted break points, the conclusion might have been closer and perhaps different.

Mannarino had fluid strokes that matched the consistency of the world top player. The difference was in the long rallies… he pulled the trigger too soon and netted backhand shots to hand the long rallies to Djokovic. Serving at 4-5 to stay in the first set, Mannarino fell behind love-30 but leveled at 30-all. A successful challenge by Djokovic led to replay of the point that gave the Serb the advantage and he clinched the break to pocket the first set 6-4.

Djokovic held serve to lead 1-0 in the second set and broke Mannarino for 2-0. He lost only one point to win the third game for a stretch of five straight games.

The Frenchman, ranked 55 in the world, struggled to hold his serve and registered on the score-board 3-1. Both players held serve and Djokovic had a 5-2 lead. Mannarino held serve to reduce the tally but the defending champion held his serve without dropping a point and took the set 6-3.

Mannarino opened serving in the third set and had two break opportunities but Djokovic struggled through a long game in which he served three double-faults, yet he took it to level one-all. Games went with serve until Djokovic broke his opponent’s serve in the seventh and held for a 5-3 lead.

Mannarino reduced the tally, delivering an ace to take the ninth game. Serving for the set and the match at 54, Djokovic delivered a weak second serve and lost the first point and fell behind 30-40 but deuced the game. On the next break point, however, he hit a double fault and the score was leveled at five-all. Mannarino conceded only one point and delivered an ace to win the 11th game. Although he started from behind at love-30, Djokovic leveled and went on to take the game and the set into a tiebreak.

In the tie break, Mannarino took his serve to lead 1-0. Djokovic took his next two service points. Mannarino took his next service point but lost the second on an ambitious drop volley.