Back From The Brink, Gilles Simon Lives On With Paris Victory | ATP Tour
Gilles Simon wrote another stirring chapter into his storied career Monday when he edged former World No. 1 Andy Murray 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 to reach the second round at the Rolex Paris Masters.
Competing in his final tour-level event, the Frenchman refused to go down without a fight in an entertaining clash. The 37-year-old rallied from 3-5 in the second set, lighting up Paris with his grit and quality to level the match, sparking scenes of joy among the home supporters.
Simon then kept his focus and outlasted the Scot in the longer exchanges in the third set to earn the 503rd win of his 20-year career. With his two-hour, 52-minute victory, the wild card improved to 3-16 in his ATP Head2Head series against Murray and will next face Taylor Fritz.
“It was a crazy match,” Simon said. “I was behind the whole match… At 3-4 in the second set I felt a lot of emotions coming. It was difficult to play my service game at that moment and he broke me. He got tight at 5-3 and this time I managed to push, hold my serve and break him again. I tried to push on every game.
“It was really difficult physically, but it was difficult physically on his side. But I thought ‘Come on, I have a chance to beat him.’ It is not like I have the best record against Andy. I really wanted to win this one and I was really happy I was able to do it.”
The American Fritz is currently eighth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, but will need a deep run in Paris if he is to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held from 13-20 November.
Simon is making his 17th appearance at the final ATP Masters 1000 event of the season, with his best result being a run to the semi-finals in 2012. The former World No. 6, who has won 14 ATP Tour titles, will hang up his racquet following the event.
Murray has fond memories in Paris, having reached the final in 2015 before lifting the trophy in 2016. The 35-year-old claimed the No. 1 spot in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings following his title run in Paris six years ago. However, after a strong start, he was unable to cross the finishing line against Simon, misfiring in the crucial moments.