Simon shimmers to enter the semifinals

Jigar Hindocha
Friday, 5 January 2018

No 4 seed Benoit Paire of France ousts Dutchman Robin Haase 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 in one long match on Court

Pune: French tennis player Gilles Simon continued his good run on the ATP 250Series Tata Open Maharashtra defeating qualifier Ricardo Ojeda Lara of Spain 6-2, 6-3 to enter the semi-final at the Balewadi Tennis Complex on Thursday.

Simon who got good crowd support on Court 1 entertained everybody with the variety of shots. His opponent Ojeda Lara could not find the rhythm right from start and surrendered in an hour and 14 minutes.

Simon set up the match nicely breaking Ojeda Lara in the third game to go ahead 3-1. Simon closed third game with a double handed backhand return.

Ojeda Lara did manage to stretch Simon with long rallies but unforced errors allowed French man to stay ahead in the match. Ojeda Lara hold his serve in the sixth game, all thanks to double fault from Simon to make it 4-2.

Simon, who ousted defending champion Roberto Bautista Agut in the second round wrapped up the first set hitting two aces in the seventh game to hold his serve and broke Ojeda Lara with backhand cross court return in eighth game to clinch it with a 6-2 score line.

“Conditions here for me are difficult too. It is changing in day as well as night on the court 1 and centre court as well. Courts are also fast so adaption to the condition is difficult.  I am just trying to play best tennis every single day,” said Simon after the match.

Simon surges in second set
In the second set, Simon took the first game 40-love before Ojeda hold his serve with cross court one handed return to make it one all.

Unseeded Simon surged ahead with 3-1 scored breaking opponent in the fourth game but a double fault in the next game allowed Ojeda Lara to break Simon’s serve and make it 3-2.

Ojeda made it 3-all but after that it was Simon’s show all the way. The Spanish player fought hard in the eight game which saw seven deuce but could not hold his serve as Simon moved ahead and closed match winning next game with a 6-3 score line for the set.

“I had won the first set and break up in the second (set), I should had close the match early but I got bit passive and allowed couple of break points before managing to break my opponent,” added Simon.

Simon will face Marin Cilic in the semifinal on Friday who defeated Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-3, 6-2 on centre court in the first quarterfinal.

Paire advances
Another French player Benoit Paire secured semi-final berth defeating Robin Haase of The Netherlands 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 in an hour and 58 minutes battle.

Both the players came hard on each other right from the start. Hasse broke Paire in the first game to make a strong statement.

World ranked 41 Paire rallied strongly breaking Hasse in the second and fourth game and also holding his serve in the third game to take 4-1 lead.

After 4-1, Hasse kept Paire on toes breaking him in 9th game and holding his serve in the 10th game to make it 5 all.

In the next game, Frenchman Paire held his serve in and broke Hasse in the 12th game to clinch the first set 7-5.

Second set all belonged to Hasse as he managed to win it 6-2. In the decider set, Paire who has reached semi-finals of the tournament in the year 2013, and 2016-17 saved three break points to enter semi-final for the third time with 
a 6-3 victory .

Age does not matter for me, it is only about trying to improve every day. You keep improving your strengths and also work on weakness that’s how things go for tennis player.  
— Gilles Simon

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