London long-shot Simon lifts Thailand Open title
Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:46
Gilles Simon took a giant leap towards a spot at the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals with his first title of the 2009 season, beating Viktor Troicki 7-5 6-3 in the final of the PTT Thailand Open.
The world No.10 ensured the title stays in French hands for another year after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga claimed last year’s crown.
“I had a difficult match but I found a way to win,” said the 24-year-old, who has struggled with persistent knee problems all year.” I really enjoyed myself today.”
“I’ve been feeling good and playing well all week,” added the Frenchman after claiming his sixth career title. “I had to fight for this win over Viktor.”
World No.32 Troicki, having lost his second career final, admitted to having been out-played in the 75-minute match.
“Gilles played great and never gave me many chance,” said the 23-year-old Serb. “But I’ve still had a good week.
“My highlight was beating Tsonga in the semis – he’s a top-ten player. Those are the kinds of wins that I need to build confidence.”
After slipping a break behind at 4-5, Simon stormed back with two straight breaks to claim the set.
In the second set, the Frenchman lifted his game, taking the title on his second match point.
“It’s late in the year, but it’s still good to get my first title of 2009,” said Simon, whose previous came just over a year ago in Bucharest.
The Frenchman will have closed up on the top eight in the running to qualify for the season finale at London’s O2 Arena, but with world No.8 Nikolay Davydenko claiming the first Malaysia Open title in Kuala Lumpur Simon will need some big performances over the next month to make the list.
“It was prefect for me this week. I’ve worked hard in the last few months, especially with my knee injury.
“It was tough to get ready for this event but I played really well.”