By Steve Gorten
KEY BISCAYNE – Adrian Mannarino had never beaten a top-10 opponent in a dozen tries.
The 26-year-old Frenchman finally ended that dubious streak Sunday.
Mannarino topped the world’s eighth-ranked player, Stan Wawrinka, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) on grandstand court to advance to the fourth round of the 2015 Miami Open.
Already enjoying the best season of his career, Mannarino pulled off the biggest win of his career – a triumph that will undoubtedly push him into the Top 30 when the next rankings are released.
Mannarino entered the first ATP Tour meeting between him and Wawrinka ranked a career-high No. 32 in the world and the 28th seed at this tournament. Wawrinka, the No. 7 seed, became the highest seeded men’s player to lose at the Miami Open this week.
And his disappointing loss came a day after his 30th birthday. Wawrinka, who lost in the first round at Indian Wells before coming to Miami, has never advanced past the fourth round in seven appearances here at Crandon Park Tennis Center. He needed nearly three hours to win his opening match against Carlos Berlocq 6-7 (9), 7-5, 6-2.
Mannarino, making his third appearance at the Miami Open, advanced to the third round for the first time with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 win against Albert Ramos-Vinolas in a rain-interrupted match that started Friday and ended Saturday. He opened this year by reaching a final for the first time at Auckland, and then reached the fourth round at Indian Wells – the first time he’s advanced that far at an ATP Masters 1000.
He will now face Dominic Thiem who beat young American Jack Sock, 6-4, 6-3, to advance to the fourth round of the Miami Open.