Gilles Simon's continued hunting top seed as he defeated second seed Kevin Anderson in straight sets to lift the inaugural Tata Open Maharashtra trophy on Saturday.
The 6 foot 10 inch big-serving South African Kevin Anderson, ranked 14 in the world and runner up at 2017 US Open was favorite, and on the other side was the unseeded French player who was ranked no.6 in 2009, reached bottom ranking of 89 in 2017. On his way to final, Simon had knocked out defending champion and third seed Roberto Bautista Agut before shocking top seed and World No 6 Marin Cilic en route the final.
In the first set, both players had good start where they held first two serves. But in fifth game, Anderson was forced into long rally where he committed mistakes and lost the serve. Simon took vital 3-2 lead and held his other serve, but in 10th game Anderson came back and broke simon's serve to level the score 5-5. Set went into tiebreaker and in thrilling 38 shots rally, simon once again forced Anderson to commit mistake. On a chop, Anderson tried to hit a winner but it went out as simon won the tiebreaker and first set as 7-6 (7-4).
Simon didn't had lethal serve, neither he had powerful forehands like Anderson but he was like mosquito that went after every shot and returned every backhand, forehand, drops & lob shots. In second set, Simon introduced a medium pace service and Anderson didn't had answer to it. Anderson was firing more than 200 km/hr serve but Simon was destroying it with return ace. Simon had 7 return ace in 2nd set and broke Anderson twice. Anderson never recovered after first set lost as simon won the second set, match & championship 7-6,6-2.
After the match, Simon thanks for the wonderful support he received throughout the week and promised to return next year. He congratulated MSLTA and organizers on organizing wonderful tournament for the first time in Pune.
In doubles final, Simon had to taste defeat. Dutch pair of Robin Hasse- Matwe Middleklopp defeated Giles Simon-Pierre Herbert in straight sets 7-6,7-6 to lift Tata open cup.