Sebastian Offner narrowly missed his third career ATP Tour semi-final. The Styrian lost to France’s Adrian Mannarino 7:6(7),4:6,3:6 in the quarterfinals of the ATP 250 hard court tournament in Sofia on Thursday. He blew a 1–0 set lead against the tournament’s number two player, including a break lead in the second set. For world number 44. It was the 91st and final game of the season, giving him his best year as a tennis professional.
Set one was not for the faint of heart. Ofner broke the Frenchman in the fourth game and then defended his serve by saving four break points. But the 4-1 lead did not last long: Mannarino – ranked No. 25 – fought back and leveled at 4-4. The decision took place only in the tiebreak, where the Austrian initially trailed 1:3, then scored five points in a row and finally missed all three chances to win the set at once. After a good 70 minutes, they took a 1-0 lead in the fifth set itself.
In the second round, the 27-year-old Oefner held serve from her eight-year-old opponent in the third game, but then faltered on her own serve. Ultimately Mannarino made it 4:4 at the break. Ofner, who was ranked seventh in Sofia, then missed a chance on the rebreak and served for naught at 4:5, which would have been enough to tie the set.
In the deciding set, Offner failed to hold his first two service games. On the positive side a rebreak was ultimately not enough, as the Styrian missed two break points at 3:5. Mannarino, however, converted his first match point after 2:38 hours to make it 2–0 in the duel. So the Austrian number one did not have another semi-final on the ATP tour at Kitzbühel 2017 and Astana a month ago.