Gilles Simon of France returns the ball to his compatriot Guillaume Rufin during their quarter final match at the Open Sud de France tennis tournament in Montpellier, France, 03 February 2012. EPA/GUILLAUME HORCAJUELO |
World No. 13 Gilles Simon advanced to the second round of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on Sunday as he defeated Monegasque wild card Benjamin Balleret 6-3, 6-2. The Frenchman converted four of 10 break points and won 71 per cent of points on serve to seal victory in 78 minutes over his No. 337-ranked opponent.
“He has a solid game and he has a very good first serve, so I knew I would have to be careful,” said Simon. “Maybe I tried to do too much in the beginning. After that, I was playing better. It was cold and it took me some time before I could find my rhythm.”
Simon improved to a 14-9 match record on the season, highlighted by reaching the semi-finals at the Brisbane International (l. to Dolgopolov) and the Open Sud de France in Montpellier (l. to Monfils) and a quarter-final showing at the BNP Paribas Openin Indian Wells (l. to Isner).
The 27-year-old Simon is playing at the Monte-Carlo Country Club for the sixth time and is bidding to go beyond the third round for the first time. He goes onto face either Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny or a qualifier.
A second Monegasque wild card fell by the way side as Serbia’s Viktor Troickidefeated Jean-Rene Lisnard 6-3, 6-1 in the first round for the second year in a row. The No. 27-ranked Troicki broke serve five times from seven opportunities to defeat Lisnard in 58 minutes.
The 26-year-old Troicki reached his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final in Monte-Carlo last year (l. to Ferrer) and goes onto face World No. 4 Andy Murray in the second round.
In the first few games of this, it seemed as if Roger Federer was really struggling to deal with Samuel Groth's serve. True, Federer was having no trouble at all on his own (except for a bad moment in the third set when he was broken) -- but he didn't really seem like Roger Federer. Nonetheless, he keeps alive his faint hopes of rising to #2.
Has the bottom half of the Open draw been taken over by aliens or something? First Agnieszka Radwanska, now this. Admittedly Simona Halep gives the impression of being primarily a traditional-surface player. But Mirjana Lucic-Baroni has always preferred clay and grass, too -- and she just barely beat Shahar Peer.
Hello from New York City. It took awhile but finally arrived. This column has laid dormant. Sorry, that's what happens when one hangs with "Global Chick " We hit the ESPY awards, the Emmy awards and we got lost in the Hamptons, but we are here NOW!