Simon Upsets Shapovalov In Cologne

Gilles Simon (photo: bett1HULKS Championship/Paul Zimmer)

COLOGNE, October 22, 2020

French veteran Gilles Simon headlined Thursday’s second-round action at the bett1HULKS Championship in Cologne, Germany by knocking out No. 3 seed Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-1, 4-6, 6-2. The 35-year-old Nice native gained revenge revenge for his first-round loss at Roland Garros, winning 74 per cent of his first-service points to secure victory in one hour and 54 minutes.

”It was really hard. Denis has a very offensive game. He is really going for everything, every time. Missing a lot, but making a lot of winners also. He is creating a lot of stress on the other side of the court,” Simon told Markus Zoecke during his on-court interview.

“I am really happy with the way I played today, with the focus I had over all of the match. I am really happy to beat him, because it is a very, very good win. I had a tough match with him at Roland Garros. I lost it unfortunately, so I am happy that I am the winner this time.”

In his first quarterfinal since Marseille in February, the World No. 58 will take on reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannik Sinner of Italy. The 19-year-old wild card entry eased past French qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-3, 6-1 in one hour and 16 minutes.

”It is a tough one. Jannik is playing unbelievable tennis,” said Simon. “He is one of the guys I am looking at the most since he came on the Tour. I feel he is really impressive. He is improving so fast in many things… I am a tennis player, but I am also a big fan of tennis. As a fan, Denis and Jannik are players that I like to watch because they bring a lot into tennis. They are just very good and I really look forward to playing against them.”

Schwartzman starts Cologne campaign

Later in the evening, No. 2 seed Diego Schwartzman opened his title bid with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Cologne native Oscar Otte, who entered the main draw as a lucky loser. In his first match as a Top 10 player, the World No. 9 from Argentina saved both break points he faced and capitalized on three of his own six break point opportunities to prevail after one hour and 19 minutes.

“It’s not easy coming after a few very good weeks, but I like to play indoors,” Schwartzman said. “I like to play on these kind of slow, indoor courts. I tried to prepare well last week in Mallorca and then I came here with many days to practise. I think I did everything to play a good match today.”

The Buenos Aires native will next face #NextGenATP Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

In the final match of the day, Yoshihito Nishikoka of Japan edged past Jan-Lennard Struff from Germany 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(3) in two hours and nine minutes.

“I lost against him last year in Paris, I know it’s going to be close match. He is very strong and I needed to stay focused all the time. I tried to play aggressive towards the end and it worked out,” said Nishioka, who will next play Canadian young gun Felix Auger-Aliassime.