French world number 18 Gilles Simon withstood the challenge of big-hitting Serb Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-4 to reach the second round at the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters. Simon summoned all his consistency to move past the dangerous Serb in straight sets.
Simon Fights Through Tough Opening Set
Simon began the match fighting off two break points in a lengthy deuce game, which he eventually held for 1-0. Both players then held easily to love to bring the set to 2-1. Simon and Troicki then held two times each, bringing the set to 4-3.
In the eighth game of the set, Simon broke through on the Troicki serve, breaking to go up 5-3, giving himself a chance to serve for the set. The Frenchmen closed the opener out, taking the set on his second set point to claim a one-set-to-love lead over his Serbian opponent.
Simon Closes it out in Topsy-Turvy Second Set
The second set began similarly to the first, with both players holding to 2-1. In the fourth game of the set, the world number 18 fended off three break chances in a lengthy deuce game, similar to the opening game of the first set. Simon then broke Troicki again, taking five break points to finally seal the break. The Frenchmen then put up a routine hold for 4-2, before breaking the Troicki serve again to go up 5-2.
Things started to go awry for Simon when serving for the match, as Troicki broke back easily to keep himself in the match. The Serb then held routinely, giving Simon another chance to serve the match out. This time, the 2012 Monte Carlo quarterfinalist made no mistake, booking his place in the second round 6-3, 6-4.
Simon Behind the Numbers
Despite winning fairly comfortably, the French world number 18 struggled on his serve, hitting no aces to three double faults and making only 41% of first serves. Fortunately for the fifteenth seed, he made his first deliveries count, winning 75% of them and also winning 54% of second serve points, a fairly average amount.
The key stat for Simon was his ability to fend off break points, saving six of seven in the match. While the Frenchmen did make it through fairly comfortably today against Troicki, he will need to improve his service numbers to give himself a chance against the world’s best on the red clay of Monte Carlo.
Up Next for Simon
Up next for Simon is either former Wimbledon semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov or another Serb in youngster Filip Krajinovic. The fifteenth seed is 4-1 lifetime against the Bulgarian, with Dimitrov taking their most recent matchup in straight sets earlier this year in Brisbane. The only time the two played on clay was back in 2012 in Nice, a court very close to the ones in Monte Carlo with almost identical conditions, where Simon took it on home soil 6-3, 6-3. While Simon and Dimitrov have played many times, Krajinovic and Simon have never played. Dimitrov and qualifier Krajinovic play second on tomorrow on Court des Princes.