Gilles Simon’s giant-killing spree culminated in a stupendous title win as he humbled second seed Kevin Anderson in straight sets to lift the inaugural Tata Open Maharashtra trophy, on 06 January 2018. The unseeded French player, ranked 89, tamed big-serving Anderson, ranked 14 in the world, 7-6(4), 6-2 in the summit clash, watched by a packed house at Balewadi Sports Complex.
The remarkable ease with which Simon positioned himself to receive the serves and returns, made a sight to watch. His effortless court coverage meant that Anderson was locked in long rallies more often, something which worked in favour of the French player. Anderson, the 2017 US Open finalist, struggled to execute his big serve consistently. His poor returns even on a humble service, sometimes even below 150km speed from Simon, made his job tough as unforced errors continued to flow from his racquet in the one-hour 36-minute match.
Anderson was serving big but Simon did not let him dominate, using his amazing retrieving skill. Points were initially long when Simon served but the South African’s serve came under pressure in the fifth when the French man attacked his rival’s second serve.