Monfils is arguably the best mover on the ATP tour. Because of his unmatched athleticism, he shrinks the court, and often baits his opponents into making the first move. This strategy works against most players on tour, but not the extremely patient ones. One example: his 0-16 record against Novak Djokovic, who is one of the most rally tolerant and consistent players ever. Gilles Simon is nearly as patient and is a prototypical counterpuncher.
When two natural counterpunchers face off, something has to give. This typically results in lengthy, oftentimes confusing rallies—like this one in Hamburg in 2011.
And this one at the 2013 Australian Open.
You’ll see some funky scorelines as well. Their most previous meeting resulted in a 0-6, 6-0, 7-6 (0) Simon victory at Madrid in 2017.
Simon clearly has a mental edge in this matchup, but Monfils is in fabulous form. He won last week in Montpellier and is due to be on the winning end of his series with Simon. Look for the world No. 9 to prevail in three topsy-turvy sets.