Gilles Simon qualified for the round of 16 of the Masters 1000 in Paris, which will be the last tournament of his career, by beating, on Wednesday November 2, the American Taylor Fritz (world number 11) 7-5, 5-7 , 6-4. The Frenchman – former world number 6 and now ranked 188e – was able to catch Fritz in the meshes of his net, he who has foiled the greatest during his twenty-one-year career. Gilles Simon, 37, will face Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime (8e) for a place in the quarter-finals.
The Niçois announced in May that he would put away his racket at the end of the season. He received an invitation to enter the main draw at Bercy, where a ceremony in his honor is planned for the day he loses. This ceremony has already been postponed twice. On Monday, he managed to postpone the deadline by winning in the first round against former world number 1 Andy Murray, after a fight of two hours and fifty minutes which seemed lost in the middle of the second set.
An almost full and very noisy Arena
He fought even longer against Fritz, as it took three hours and six minutes for the two men to decide.
Winner of the first set 7-5, Simon seemed able to crack Fritz in the second by scoring the break to lead 2-1. But the American was able to contain his nerves. Fritz broke immediately, then saved three more break points at 5-5 before taking Simon’s serve himself to equalize at one set everywhere. In the decisive set, Fritz was more serene about his face-off than Simon, but it was the Frenchman who made the decisive break, on his one and only break point, to lead 5-4 and serve for the match. .
In an almost full and very noisy Arena, which supported him from start to finish, Simon then offered himself two match points and concluded on the first.