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Simon Extends Roland Garros Farewell In Five-Set Thriller

Gilles Simon is not ready to bid adieu to Roland Garros just yet. The Frenchman, playing in his farewell Roland Garros ahead of his impending retirement at season’s end, rode a wave of crowd support on Court Simonne-Mathieu to thwart a comeback attempt from 16th seed Pablo Carreno Busta.

The 37-year-old escaped with a 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 1-6, 6-4 victory after 1 a.m., winning the final four games of the nearly four-hour contest to thrill the late-night Paris crowd. Carreno Busta looked set to repeat the Court Philippe Chatrier heroics of Stefanos Tsitsipas with a comeback from two sets down, but could not get over the line despite leading 4-2 in the fifth after breaking serve to open the decider.

“It was a crazy match, an unexpected win,” Simon said. “When you’re on clay, it’s super long, and Pablo is a super solid player. You know until the end it’s going to be difficult, and unfortunately I was dropping a bit physically… In the end I managed to turn this one and it was really unexpected.

“It’s the most unexpected win I could have,” Simon said. “It was really hard for me to see myself as a winner today when I was just warming up and everything. I knew it would be really hard… When the match starts to turn crazy like this, it means you just have two players on the same level trying to give everything to win. Sometimes you win it and sometimes you lose it.”

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The victory, Simon’s first at his home Grand Slam since 2019, moves the Frenchman to within one victory of his 500th win. His lifetime tour-level record now stands at 499-390, including his 2-4 mark this season. The result is a dramatic contrast to his last Grand Slam outing, a first-round qualifying loss at the Australian Open in January.

The former World No. 6 will aim for the 500-wins milestone against Steve Johnson in the second round, after the American defeated Jiri Vesely earlier on Tuesday, 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-2. 

Simon’s best Roland Garros results came in 2011, 2013 and 2015, when he reached the fourth round. A 14-time tour-level titlist, he has reached the quarter-finals at the Australian Open (2009) and Wimbledon (2015) once each and the fourth round at the US Open twice (2011, 2014).

Source Tennis – ATP World Tour

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