The 33-year-old Frenchman beat second-seed Kevin Anderson in straight sets 7-6, 6-2
World no. 89 Gilles Simon was crowned as the Tata Open Maharashtra Champion after he beat second-seed Kevin Anderson in straight sets 7-6, 6-2 in an entertaining final held at the Mhalunge Balewadi Stadium here in Pune on Saturday.
The unseeded Simon won his first ATP 250 World Tour event after having last won in Marseille in 2015. The 33-year-old Frenchman produced some amazing tennis throughout the tournament as he beat defending champion Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarterfinal and then caused an upset beating top-seed and world no. six Marin Cilic in the semifinal.
In the final, the world no. 89 kept his great run going by starting the first set by matching world no. 14 Anderson’s serving as he broke his serve in the seventh game to take a 5-3 lead. Anderson struck back to break Simon’s serve in the 10th game to take the set into a tie-break. It was Simon who kept his nerve and won the first set 7-6. Even though Anderson hit a total of 10 aces in the first set, but his return let him down as Simon (38%) had a slightly better return percentage than Anderson (30%).
In the second set, it was neck-and-neck until the fourth game (2-2). Frenchman broke Anderson's serve and it seemed like the 33-year-old was up for it as he went on to win the second set 6-2 and the match, not giving the South African any chance of finding a way back into the match.
This was Simon's first victory against Anderson after having lost on three previous occasions to the South African.
The 33-year-old Simon seemed ecstatic with the victory, he said, "I did not have a great season last year but I am very happy and excited to have started the season by winning the title here in India. This is my first appearance here in India and I am delighted to have won in front of a great crowd which has always supported me from the first day."
Simon was awarded the prize money of $89,435 and has won 250 ATP Ranking Points for winning the Singles competition while Anderson was awarded a cheque of $47,105, winning 150 ATP Ranking Points.