As a Simon fan this loss is hard to take.
I agree. I'm right there with you on that. But I guess I'll go even further with it.
Where to begin. Here's the rub for me. A lot of people are going to say that this was a great match for Gilles and that this can only mean good things for him going forward. I will be the one to say I don't think it will. Firstly, It WAS a great and exciting match and Gilles should be commended and applauded for the valiant effort and heart he displayed in the match. It was great to see him out there enjoying himself (for the most part) and living in the moment against the world #1 on the big stage in a masters 1000. But for me, when you peel all of it back and really look at why Gilles lost a different picture comes to the surface. For me, this match read like a highlight reel of everything that is wrong with Gilles in his current state. No consistent confidence in his game and the big moments. Up and down. Up and down.
He played great tennis, but at the key moments where games/sets and matches are won or lost, he faltered yet again, because of his lack of confidence and belief in himself. How many people realize that Gilles should've won this match in straight sets? He broke Nadal twice in the first set. But the first break was to get back the game he handed Nadal and then the second break was to get back the break that Nadal actually played well to get in the first place. Point is, if Gilles hadn't donated that first break against him. He would've won the first set because He broke Nadal twice. Then, he completely melted down in the first set tiebreak.
Then, after he pulled out the second set in another tiebreak where the match should've ended (forget about the 0-40 in the second set at 4-4 he had to possibly avoid the tiebreak after the disaster that was the first one) to take it to a third, he should've been up a double break at 4-0, but ultimately lost it 6-2. Some of that was do to Nadal yes, but most of it was do to Gilles struggling during the key moments of the match yet again because Nadal was making a lot of errors and completely shanking on shots left and right. First game of the third set he let slip away as well and if he had held, he broke Nadal the next game. He could've been up 3-0 if he held serve. Plus, he had 0-30 again on Nadals next serve and he let that slip away not from Nadal winners, but his own errors. So he could've conceivably been up a double break of 4-0 serving to go up 5-0. Confidence decided all of that. Just as it did in the Murray match.
Gilles playing great tennis and showing off his skill hasn't been the issue. We know the skill and talent is still there so seeing him do/display it against Nadal is great but it's the lack of confidence that is still present and still costing him as it did today that bothers me. For me, as great as it was to see Gilles giving it his all today, it was another bitter pill to swallow when he snatched defeat from the jaws of victory yet again. I don't think this will change anything. I think if he had won it would've. As it stands, it's just another heart-breaking loss.
I don't know guys. That's just what I saw out of this match and what I feel about the outcome. If I'm wrong and Gilles goes on to great things the rest of this season and this match served as the springboard for him to do that then great. I'll be happy to be wrong. But it's been bad for a while now and I'm not going to let myself succumb to what I want to be the case versus what really is the case as of right now.