(Reuters) – France’s Adrian Mannarino overcame a mid-match blip to beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-0 4-6 6-1 at the Zhuhai Championships on Saturday, advancing to his second tour-level final.
Mannarino, who now meets his Australian practice partner Alex de Minaur, started with a flourish as he reeled off the opening seven games to stamp his authority on the match.
Eighth-seeded Spaniard Ramos-Vinolas got on the scoreboard early in the second set and forced his way back into the contest with a crucial break of serve to force a decider.
But Mannarino’s lethal first-serve ensured he continued to dictate play in the final set as he claimed the last five games to progress after two hours and three minutes.
“Conditions are really humid here and it was really physical, but I was able to stay really concentrated,” the 31-year-old Mannarino said.
“Even if I lost the second set, I stayed consistent with a lot of energy in the third set.
“I finally got the break in a really close game at the beginning of the third set and that gave me a push up and I was able to finish well too. I hope I am going to keep going like this in the final.”
Mannarino is chasing his second ATP Tour title after winning the Libema Open in June at the age of 30 to become the oldest first-time champion on the men’s circuit this year.
The unseeded Frenchman, now 31, faces his long-time practice partner De Minaur for the first time in Sunday’s final.
After impressive wins over Andy Murray and Borna Coric, De Minaur stunned second seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2 6-2.
“I’ve shown it today, I’ve got this level, the level I brought today,” 20-year-old seventh seed De Minaur said.
“If I can try to bring this level almost every week, then I’ll be going deep in tournaments and beating these top guys and pushing for titles.”
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)