Pune: World No 89 Gilles Simon of France produced a fantastic performance to beat top seed and World No 6 Marin Cilic of Croatia 1-6,6-3,6-2 in a hard-fought three-set match to enter the final of inaugural Tata Open Maharashtra ATP 250 Series tournament here on Friday.
With this win, Simon leads Cilic 6-1 in their head-to-head meeting.
The first set was a one-sided affair as Cilic raced to a 5-0 lead before Simon finally managed to break him in the sixth game. Cilic then comfortably served out the set 6-1.
The second set was a repeat of the first one, but this time it was the 33-year-old Frenchman who had the upper hand. Unseeded Simon raced to a 4-0 lead as his backhand strokes created trouble for the top seed. In the fifth game it was 6'6 Croat who broke the Frenchman to win his first game in the second set.
The world No 6 then held on his serve in the sixth game to narrow the gap to 2-4. In the seventh game, Simon managed to hold his serve to stretch the lead 5-2. Cilic once again held onto his serve to win the eighth game. There was no comeback for the Croat as Simone closed the set 6-3.
In the third set, it was Simon who once again surged ahead by breaking Cilic in the first game.
In the second game the Croat produced brilliant fight back as the Frenchman found it difficult to close down the game.
Both the players exchanged terrific winners as Simon had two break points to close the game, but Cilic denied both the points. The world No. 89 finally managed to win the game on his third break point to take a 2-0 lead.
Both the players then held onto their serve in the next two games as Simon led 3-2. In the fifth game, Simon produced some absolute down the line winners which not only surprised Cilic but also received a huge round of applause from the crowd present inside the stadium to stretch the lead 4-2.
In the seventh game when the score read 40-30, Simon produced crosscourt forehand that brought the crowd on its feet and with that game he served for the match. Simon finally closed down the match 6-2.
Simon will next face winner of the other semifinal match between Benoit Paire and Kevin Anderson....