Mannarino ends up playing, but Zverev gets the win

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Alexander Zverev comes back from a set down to defeat Adrian Mannarino, who for a while was thought to be about to be withdrawn from the match.
  • US Open third round, men’s singles
  • Zverev d. Mannarino 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-2, 6-2
  • Key stats: Zverev won 14 of the last 18 games
  • Why you should read this story: The result of the match was hardly the big news

For a while it looked like Alexander Zverev would get a walkover from Adrian Mannarino into the fourth round of the US Open. They were scheduled for the third match in Louis Armstrong Stadium, following Angelique Kerber vs. Ann Li. That would have put them on the court at 2:30 pm EST.

By 5:00 pm EST, they still had not taken the court.

In an interview on Eurosport Germany, Mischa Zverev – Alexander’s brother – said the players were waiting to hear from the State of New York regarding Mannarino’s status. The Frenchman was one of seven players placed under the most strict quarantine rules because of their proximity to Benoit Paire before the tournament began. Eventually Mannarino was given the green light, apparently from governor Andrew Cuomo.

“He was around Benoit Paire, so I guess New York State called and said that he shouldn’t play,” the younger Zverev said during his post-match interview. “It was political; it was not us players. We were just sitting around. I was told that there was very little chance we were going to play. I was just kind of waiting around; I was very relaxed. As a competitor, as a fellow tennis player, I was happy that he was able to play. I was happy we played that match.”

The world No 7 probably wouldn’t have been happy about that if he had lost – but he didn’t. Zverev recovered from a slow start, perhaps due to not being ready for a match, but recovered for a mostly routine four-set victory. The German’s serve continued to be a problem (11 double-faults), but he broke Mannarino seven times.

“I was preparing to go on court at 2:30 pm,” Mannarino explained in his post-match press conference, at which approximately 40 reporters attended via Zoom. “The tour manager came to talk to me and explained the situation that the state department of health took over the city. The city allowed me to play on Sunday, but the state took over the decision to say that I’ve been exposed to a positive case so I should be quarantined in my room and not be able to go on the court and play my match today. They told me they were trying to contact some guys and see if this decision could be changed. Obviously a lot of effort has been done. They pushed the match back (more than two hours); Sacha agreed, which is nice.

“I was just trying to get ready…trying to focus and be prepared as if I’m going on the court at 5:00. I’m thankful to all of these people who have been trying to get me on court today. Around 4:30 pm, I heard that I [was] allowed to go on court.

“Unfortunately I lost the match. But I’m happy I was on court.”

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