The first main draw match of the St. Petersburg Open got underway on centre court as Ricardas Berankis took on Adrian Mannarino. The Lithuanian came away 7-6(7), 3-6, 6-3 to advance to the second round where fourth-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut awaits.
Berankis wins 52-minute set in a tiebreaker
Both players started confidently, holding their opening two service games to bring the set to 2-2. A forehand winner from Berankis brought up the set's first break point chance at love-40. The 26-year-old fired a forehand which landed flat on the baseline which Mannarino couldn't handle as he netted the return to go down a break. However, Mannarino then found himself with a break point of his own but Berankis denied him and went on to hold for 4-2. The next two service games were held to love as the 28-year-old found himself serving to stay in the opening set at 5-3.
A forehand which ended up long from the Frenchman gave Berankis double set point. Two good serves including an ace saw Mannarino deny Berankis the first set as he held serve. At 30-love, Mannarino chased down a drop shot from Berankis, played the ball back in court to which the Lithuanian netted to give the Frenchman three chances to break to level. Despite saving one of them, Berankis ended up losing the game and the break as the set went to 5-5. Two more comfortable holds of serve saw the first set go to the tiebreaker. After having three more set points saved, Berankis eventually won the set 7-6(7).
Mannarino fights back from a break down to claim the second set
Berankis started the second set confidently. With the momentum on his side, the world number 83 held his serve and then broke the Mannarino serve to go up 2-0. The momentum would then change as the Frenchman began to slowly find a way back into the match. Just a game later, the number 62 player in the world squandered two break points before going on to break at the third attempt following an unforced error from the Lithuanian.
A hold of serve from the Frenchman brought him level in the set at 2-2. The two players then held serve as the set moved to 3-3 on the Berankis serve. A double fault at 30-40 gifted Mannarino his second break of the match as he went ahead for the first time in the set at 4-3. An ace to hold serve gave Mannarino a 5-3 lead. The Frenchman then put Berankis under pressure as he looked to stay in the second set. Three set points came and went for the Frenchman but he managed to close out the set at the fourth attempt with a forehand winner to level at one set apiece, 6-3.
Berankis denies Mannarino comeback; books spot in round two
The deciding set couldn't have started any better for the Lithuanian. At 30-all, Berankis hit a slice winner to bring up a break point chance. At the first time of asking, he broke after Mannarino sent a forehand long off the baseline. The 26-year-old consolidated the break for a 2-0 lead. It got even better for Berankis as he went further ahead at 3-0 after Mannarino netted a forehand. However, the Frenchman fought back and raced away to a love-40 lead before breaking and getting his first game of the set at 3-1.
Mannarino held serve and the momentum was shifting ever so slightly. But Berankis then got a spot of good fortune as a forehand hit the net and then dribbled over to Mannarino's side as he broke again for 5-2. The momentum then shifted back to the Lithuanian's side. Serving for the match, Mannarino denied the Lithuanian as he broke without dropping a point. Nevertheless, Berankis reached match point on the Frenchman's serve and booked his spot in round two with a three-set win.