Tennis Prose



Mannarino vs Seppi, the best unknown rivalry in tennis?

By Scoop Malinowski

It’s very rare in tennis that a rivalry persists where both players trade back and forth wins over the span of a decade. Usually one player establishes a superiority over a player and rolls with it.

But there’s at least one ATP rivalry which contradicts that systemic nature of tennis – the Adrian Mannarino vs Andreas Seppi rivalry. The two baseline artists have met seven times since 2008 with the 46 ranked Seppi winning four and the 49 ranked Mannarino taking three of the contests. Today they will collide again in the Kremlin Cup semifinal.

Here is the breakdown of the rivalry:

They have played on all surfaces and it didn’t seem to matter, the outcomes still bounced back and forth. Mannarino won the first meeting on indoor hard, then Seppi won the next two six and seven years later on clay and outdoor hard. Then Mannarino won the next clash on grass and in the same year, Seppi won on grass. Then Mannarino won again on grass the next year and Seppi won the seventh match last week in Shanghai. Each match has been straight sets!

2018 ATP Masters 1000 Shanghai OH R64 Seppi 64 64
2017 Antalya OG SF Mannarino 64 64
2016 Nottingham OG R16 Seppi 62 63
2016 s-Hertogenbosch OG R32 Mannarino 64 64
2015 ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati OH R64 Seppi 63 63
2014 Dusseldorf OC R16 Seppi 62 61
2008 Metz IH R32 Mannarino 64 62

If form holds up, Mannarino should win today, as it’s his turn. But Seppi has been the only one to win two in a row from the other, as he did in 2014-2015 in Dusseldorf and Cincy.

A seemingly uneventful October match seems ordinary on the surface. But when you look at the curiously see-saw head to head scores of Mannarino vs. Seppi, today’s match offers a whole different appeal and intrigue.

Will they finally play a three setter after seven tries? Will Mannarino deadlock the rivalry again at 4-4, as he has done twice before? Or has Seppi found the solution to solving the Mannarino puzzle and will he take the 5-3 head to head lead?

We will find out in a few hours…

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1 comment

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 21, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    Mannarino levels the series at 4-4 with another straight set win, 75 75. The rivalry continues.



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