Simon beats Monfils in third-set tiebreaker to win Marseille

by: AP | February 22, 2015

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The Frenchman won his 12th career title over his countryman, 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (4). (AP Photo)

MARSEILLE, France (AP) -- Fifth-seeded Gilles Simon claimed his 12th career title after coming out on top of a tense three-set battle with fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils in the Open 13 final on Sunday.

Simon withstood 11 aces from Monfils and five breaks of serve before he proved the strongest in the tiebreak to win 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (4).

The 30-year-old Simon became the second most titled French player in the Open era, only trailing former French Open winner Yannick Noah, who amassed 23 titles during his career.

Simon did not seem too tired following his three-set win over Sergiy Stakhovsky in the semifinals and stood up to the long rallies that punctuated the match.

Simon, who lifted the trophy for the second time after winning in the coastal city in 2007, also capitalized on Monfils' 54 unforced errors to win in 2 hours and 29 minutes as his opponent's poor record in ATP tournament finals did not improve.

''It was a great week, but a tough one physically,'' said Simon, who spent nearly nine hours on the court in his five matches. ''I left a lot of energy against (Borna) Coric (in the second round) and then it was hard to recover from this one. I'm happy I won here since I won my first tournament in Marseille. I hope it won't be the last one.''

The 28-year-old Monfils has now lost 17 of the 22 finals he has contested, and his last title came more than one year ago in Montpellier.

''I'm disappointed,'' said Monfils. ''It was a great match and we both played really well.''

Simon will lead France against Germany in their Davis Cup first round match next month while Monfils, who did not drop a set before the final and came two points away from victory in the 12th game of the third set, has decided to skip the tie to reduce his schedule.

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