21st seed Gilles Simon has beaten Nicolas Almagro of Spain in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5. The Frenchman put out an efficient display, finishing the match in just over two hours.
This match would have been more interesting on another surface, such as clay, with both players known for their movement and mastery behind the baseline. With the Spaniard playing on his least favorite surface and still feeling his way back after a long absence through injury, it made for a fairly disappointing contest.
Simon, 30, had his way early in the first set. He played at a solid, if not spectacular level, letting Almagro make the mistakes and eventually breaking his serve to win the set. There wasn’t much to separate the two players apart from the Spaniard’s high number of unforced errors. He had 18, compared to Simon’s 10.
The second set was much of the same. Both players content with sitting back and waiting for the error. There wasn’t much to separate the players the statistically. In fact Almagro had the slightly better numbers with more Aces, first serves in, net and receiving points won, and winners. However, he again shot himself in the foot too often, committing 14 unforced errors, compared to Simon’s seven.
The Frenchman was much better in the third set, dominating his 29-year-old counterpart in every area of the court. Most notably, Simon had six aces compared to Almagro’s zero, and just three unforced errors compared to the Spaniard’s whopping 16.
Simon didn’t need to break a sweat in the end, despite the difficult conditions. The game played right into his hands with Almagro making way too many unnecessary mistakes and never really looking like he wanted it enough.
Simon will now play 28-year-old Slovenian Blaz Kavcic in the second round. Kavcic, ranked world number 111, comfortably defeated Yuichi Sugita of Japan 7-6(3), 6-3, 7-6(5).