PUNE: Unseeded Gilles Simon came out with an impressive performance to knock out defending champion Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) to storm into the quarterfinals of the ATP 250 Series Tata Open Maharashtra at Balewadi Sports Complex on Wednesday.
Frenchman Simon took two hours and two minutes to oust Agut, who fought hard in the second set to force it into tie breaker but failed to nail it.
“Well he (Agut) is one of that guy against whom I have very good record of 5-1 win. It was a close game,” Simon said after the match.
Simon kept things in control in the first set. Taking full advantage of three double faults committed by Agut and wrapped up the first game 6-3.
“Roberto is a super hard player but he has a great forehand. He can control the game and change the direction of the ball any time. Sometime he plays defensive and sometime offensive. He has a very nice shots, which he can use it anytime during the match.”
In the second set, Agut was 5-4 down before he rallied it to force set into tie breaker.
“It was a tough match with very close games during the whole match. Second set was very close but I was not able to win it. At 5-5, I thought the ball was one millimetre out. It became 5-6… (I was) disappointed to lose,” said Agut.
Simon who was going good till 5-4, allowed Agut to rally into the game but could not close the match early.
“I lost my focus a bit, I did hit two really good shots on 5-3 and 5-4 but I should have come out at 4-2 and 4-3 but I was not able to do it,” explained Simon.
In the tie breaker, Simon kept his cool and completed win by taking the set 7-6 (7-5). Fourth seed Benoit Paire from France ensured quarterfinals berth defeating Marton Fucsovics of Hungary 6-4, 6-7(4-7), 7-6 (8-6).
BENOIT PAIRE SAILS
Paire, who lost his doubles first round encounter pairing local boy Arjun Kadhe on Day 1 fought hard to complete victory in three hours and 2 minutes.
Fifth seed Robin Hasse from The Netherlands toiled hard to overcome Nicolas Jarry of Chile 3-6, 7-6(7-5), 7-5 in two hours 10 minutes battle.
GILLES SIMON FACTFILE
- 2017 W-L: 16-25
- Date of Birth: December 27, 1984
- ATP Ranking: 89
- Performance in 2017
- Reached Quarterfinal of Open 13 Marseillie (lost to Jo Wilfried Tsonga)
- Entered Round 3 of Australian Open (lost to Milos Raonic)
- Entered round 3 of ATP Masters 1000 Shangahi
AGUT BLAMES CONDITIONS, BALLS
- Disappointed with the loss, defending champion Roberto Bautista Agut criticised ATP and tournament organisers for using Yonex balls for the tour event.
- “I did not like the condition, I was supposed to play with Australian Open balls and played with Yonex which was disappointing . It is a very strange message from tournament and also for ATP. I have never played with this ball in my career and this is my first time in my 29 years I am playing with this ball.”
- “It is important is to play with Australian Open ball and get used to it before the Grand Slam,” added Agut who had played with Wilson Australian Open balls in Abu Dhabi before coming to Pune.