Re: ATP Finals
World No. 41 Gilles Simon won his eighth ATP World Tour title as he defeated Serbian Viktor Troicki 7-5, 7-6(4) Saturday to win the Medibank International Sydney.
Simon was contesting his first ATP World Tour final in Australia and improved to an 8-2 finals record. He is the first French winner in Sydney since Guy Forget lifted the trophy in 1991 (d. Stich).
“It's always good to win the tournament,” said Simon. “I mean, you never know if you're going to win more after, so I enjoy it every time. It's nice also for me to win here, to win some different tournaments. It's a tournament I like to play.”
Watch Simon Interview
The 26 year old raced to victory at the ATP World Tour 250 hard-court tennis tournament without the loss of a set, including victory over No. 3 seed Ernests Gulbis in the semi-finals. He received 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and $77,000 in prize money.
Having only returned from a right knee injury in mid-June last season, former World No. 6 Simon was pleased with his improved form.
“In tennis it's always a matter of confidence,” said the Frenchman. “I could see tonight I was playing very nice tennis, but I played some bad games at the beginning of the second set. I wasn't doing it two years ago. I think it will come back with the match and with the victory. So that's why it's very good to win here.”
Breaks were exchanged early in the first set before Simon earned four set points on Troicki’s serve in the 10th game. The fourth-seeded Troicki managed to pull through his service game, but his resistance crumbled in the 12th game as Simon converted his sixth set point to win the opener.
Troicki raced to a 3-0 double break lead in the second set. He could not maintain his advantage, though, as Simon reeled off four straight games. Troicki broke again in the 11th game to serve for the set, but Simon again fought back to level and the Frenchman clinched victory in the deciding tie-break in just under two hours.
“We were playing very nice tennis from the baseline, and it was a real fight,” reflected Simon. “I'm just happy to win it, because Viktor is playing better and better week after week. That's very good for me to be feeling now, because I know that he's playing good and I know that I'm able to defeat him even when he's playing good. So it's good for my confidence.”
Victory for Simon marked five wins out of five for the Frenchman against Troicki and went some way to avenging France’s loss to Serbia in the Davis Cup final last month, when Troicki won the deciding fifth rubber against Michael Llodra.
Simon goes into the Australian Open unseeded and will face Yen-Hsun Lu in the first round, with a likely meeting with defending champion Roger Federer in the second round.
The No. 30-ranked Troicki was chasing his second ATP World Tour title from his fourth final; he won his maiden crown in Moscow (d. Baghdatis) last year. The Belgrade native, who opened the season with a quarter-final showing in Doha (l. to Federer), will face Russian Dmitry Tursunov in the first round in Melbourne and could test World No. 3 and countryman Novak Djokovic in the third round.
“Right now I feel bit disappointed, but definitely it was a good week,” admitted Troicki. “Also a good match tonight. I feel I had a lot of chances that I didn't use, and obviously Gilles doesn't suit my game. For the past five matches already I haven't been able to figure out how to win a set.
“I hope I continue to play good in Melbourne. I play my first round already on Monday. I hope I get ready for that match.”