Gilles Simon defeats Kevin Anderson to clinch Maharashtra Open tennis title

Gilles Simon defeats Kevin Anderson to clinch Maharashtra Open tennis title

It was the 33-year-old Simon's sixth win out of seven ATP Tour matches against the sixth-ranked Cilic, as the Frenchman looks to win his first title since 2015. It was Simon who kept his nerve and won the first set 7-6.

Pune: It was first-time lucky for unseeded Frenchman Gilles Simon who beat South Africa's Kevin Anderson 7-6 (4), 6-2 to lift the inaugural Tata Maharashtra Open at Balewadi Sports Complex here on Saturday. The South African, the tallest finalist in a Grand Slam when he finished runners up at the 2017 US Open, had served well till that game.

Simon beat third seed and defending champion Roberto Bautista Agut in the second round before overcoming top seed and world number six Marin Cilic in the semi-finals. Gilles lost just 3 points on serve in set number 2 and he had a great chance to create a set and a break lead in game 2, with 3 break points up for grabs.

Anderson was serving well as he hit 10 aces inside the first set, while Paire was equally good with his service points, winning 20 out of 26 off his first serve.

Anderson got a chance to get the break back when Simon's backhand sailed over the baseline at 30-30 and he grabbed the chance with a passing backhand victor as Simon charged the net.

It looked like the 29-year-old Croat would run away with the game in the second set as well but it wasn't to happen, as Simon looked lively, answering the crowd's encouragement by displaying some incredible returns to make a comeback into the match. They both held serve as the set went into tie-breaker. Trailing 3-1, Simon won 19-shot rally to get the mini-break back and he grabbed another one with a stunning cross court forehand victor that sent him 5-3 ahead.

Anderson saved three break points in the second game of the second set but an unrelenting Simon broke his rival in the sixth and eighth to seal the win.

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