These two old timers on the circuit have only played once before. It was in Tokyo last season, and John Millman won in three sets.
You should know that this tournament is not played in Cincinnati but in Flushing Meadows this year. The playing conditions are therefore quite different from previous editions.
Adrian Mannarino has already participated 6 times in this Masters 1000 in Cincinnati. He has made it through the first round in his last 3 participations, and his best performance is a 1/8 final (2019 and 2017). Last year, he was eliminated by David Goffin after defeating Cristian Garin and Mikhail Kukushkin.
John Millman, for his part, will play this tournament for the second time after 2016 where he was eliminated in the 2nd round (by Dominic Thiem).
Adrian Mannarino’s irregularity and “Ayah!” in the face of John Millman’s wobbly serve and unstable forehand. And yet, I’m interested in this match.
Unlike John Millman who has not played in official competition since last March, Adrian Mannarino had the opportunity to participate in a small tournament in France. But apart from the fact that he was able to regain a taste for competition, he didn’t really get a kick out of it (and he says so). Mannarino is above all a player who plays with his head. And when it’s not there, it’s a whole style of play that collapses.
John Millman has, in my opinion, a slight advantage in this match. He does indeed seem a little better mentally. He announced that he was feeling good and that he was very happy to be back in the competition. In addition, the Australian is coming off an interesting start to the season where he managed to beat Auger-Aliassime, Khachanov, Humbert and Hurkacz. He also put Roger Federer in trouble at the Australian Open. OK, that was in his country, but still.
I like John Millman’s style of play. His accelerating backhand could succeed in upsetting Mannarino more than once. The latter might have trouble with that quick move. Also, his qualities as a receiver could succeed in disturbing a mentally unstable Frenchman to force him to take more risks (and thus commit faults). Adrian Mannarino also has some qualities on the restart that hurt. But the Australian could well win this match in mental terms. That’s what often makes the difference in this type of match.
Prediction: John Millman wins