When the Singles main draw of the inaugural Tata Open Maharashtra was out, very few would have given Gilles Simon an outside chance to go all the way and win the title. With the likes of Marin Cilic (World No. 6), Kevin Anderson (World No. 12) and defending champion – Roberto Bautista Agut participating, the unseeded Simon played some extraordinary Tennis throughout the tournament. Let’s take a look at his Tata Open Maharashtra performances.
Aggressive Tennis against Sandgren
Gilles Simon started his Tata Open Maharashtra campaign against USA’s Tennys Sandgren on an aggressive note. Simon looked in total control of the match with his powerful groundstrokes. He subsequently rocketed his way towards a comfortable win (6-4, 6-1). After a confident start, he looked ready for the upcoming challenges.
Knocks out the defending champion
Continuing his rich form, Simon faced defending champion Roberto Bautista Agut in the second round. Bautista Agut, who got a ‘Bye’ in his first round, was playing his first match of the season and looked a bit rusty at the start. Simon was quick to take advantage and win the first set 6-3. The No. 3 seed fought back to take the set into a tie-breaker, but only to lose it 5-7. Simon eventually made his way into the quarters with a straight set win [6-3, 7-6(7-5)].
Eases into the semi-finals
After knocking out the defending champion, the Frenchman faced Spain’s Ricardo Ojeda Lara in his quarter-final match. He won the first set 6-2 and wasted no time to bag the second set (6-3). Simon continued his tradition of winning the matches in straight sets to carry on his brilliant run in the Tata Open Maharashtra.
Comeback against Cilic
Playing against the top seed, Marin Cilic, at the Centre Court, Simon was under considerable pressure from the start as he went on to lose the first set 1-6. With an in-form Cilic going for the kill, not many would have thought of a turnaround, but Simon did just that. He turned the tables in the second set with getting his rhythm back and winning it 6-3. With both men winning one set each, we were up for a fantastic last set. Simon showed his true class as he played some superb Tennis and did not give Cilic any chance to make a way back into the match. Simon won the third set 6-2 to complete a well-contested match.
2018 Singles Champion
Facing Kevin Anderson in the final, the full house crowd at the Mhalunge Balewadi Stadium welcomed him and Simon to the Centre Court. It was a tough match from the starting games as both, Simon and Anderson, were up against each other. The first set went into a tie-breaker where the man in form from France, held his nerves to win it 7-4. After winning the first set, Simon did not look back and upped the ante in the second. Anderson, who had lost his touch by then, was low on morale and gave away the set and the title to the unseeded Frenchman.
Gilles Simon won his 13th Singles career title defeating the No. 1, 2 and 3 seeds of the tournament and stamped his class on the inaugural edition of the Tata Open Maharashtra.