Australian Open: Adrian Mannarino sees off lucky loser Matteo Berrettini

Frenchman Adrian Mannarino needed just one hour 50 minutes to defeat the lucky loser from Italy Matteo Berrettini 6-4, 6-,4 6-4 to book his spot in the Australian Open second round. 

Early breaks seals the deal for Mannarino 

Matteo Berrettini playing in his first Grand Slam main draw settled down early on by holding serve. Mannarino followed suit by holding to love for 1-1. The Italian was put under pressure as he faced three break points.

The Frenchman missed his first attempt by flashing a forehand wide but broke in the next game thanks to an unforced error from the 21-year-old Italian. The Lucky Loser fought back to earn a break back point at 30-40 but sent a slice long in the next point with the game heading to deuce.

Adrian Mannarino strikes a forehand shot (Photo: Jaimi Chisholm/Getty Images)
Adrian Mannarino strikes a forehand shot (Photo: Jaimi Chisholm/Getty Images)

Mannarino won the next two points and consolidated his break to go 3-1 up. Despite being down a break, Berrettini continued to show spirit, hitting powerful forehand winners and crunching down the aces as he held to love in the very next game, 3-2.

The next four games went with the server quite comfortably and after half an hour, the 26th seed was serving the set at 5-4. Up 30-15, Mannarino brought up a first set point with an excellent unreturnable serve. He then forced an error from his opponent to take a set lead, 6-4. 

Mannarino takes a two-set lead

At the start of the second set, Berrettini continued where he left off, firing powerful forehands and hitting aces from time to time. However, his forehand that was working well for much of the first set began to produce errors while Mannarino was also forcing errors from the Italian.

The fifth game for the 21-year-old mirrored the opening game of the set, hoping to love and wrong-footing the 29-year-old to stay ahead and hoping to put pressure on. Mannarino followed suit, holding to love and wrong-footing his opponent in an error-filled game from Berrettini.

In a tight set, Mannarino fashioned an opening in the ninth game, forcing the world number 130 to produce yet another forehand error at 30-all to bring up the first break point of the set. Mannarino then produced some outstanding defending which led to Berrettini sending a forehand straight into the net. 

Level at 30-all in the next game, Berrettini missed a golden opportunity to bring up a break point as he opened up the court but sent an umpteenth forehand into the net to go down a set point. First time of asking, Mannarino put away the point to take a two-set lead. 

Frenchman seals victory; advances to the second round

Up two-sets and with momentum firmly on his side, the 29-year-old Frenchman sent the Italian to deuce but couldn't win the next point as he flashed a forehand wide of the line. An unreturnable serve did the job for Berrettini.

Mannarino restored parity with a mirror image serve. Both players then comfortably held their next service games as another tight set loomed, 2-2. However, Berrettini's forehand went missing once more and the Frenchman had a break point chance.

Adrian Mannarino plays a backhand shot (Photo: Jaimi Chisholm/Getty Images)
Adrian Mannarino plays a backhand shot (Photo: Jaimi Chisholm/Getty Images)

From the off, Mannarino attacked the Italian's serve which led to an unforced error. Angry at the way he conceded the break, Berrettini slammed his racket on the floor in frustration. Mannarino consolidated to love for a 4-2 lead.

Both held serve and the 26th seed was left serving for a place in round two. An attempted lob from Berrettini went long of the line as he faced a match point. Mannarino closed out the match at the first time of asking as the Italian's maiden Grand Slam appearance came to an end.