Gael Monfils must overturn a 2-7 head-to-head record against Gilles Simon if he is to continue his Rotterdam title defence when the two Frenchman clash in the second round on Thursday.
Gael Monfils 🇫🇷 vs Gilles Simon 🇫🇷 Match Info
Date: Thursday February 13
Tournament: ATP Rotterdam, R2
Court: Centre Court
Time: 7.30pm local time (6.30pm GMT)
Gael Monfils vs Gilles Simon Head-to-Head
Simon leads 7-2
2017 | Madrid R64 | Simon 0-6 6-0 7-6(0)
2016 | Tokyo R16 | Monfils 6-1 6-4
2015 | Wimbledon R32 | Simon 3-6 6-3 7-6(6) 2-6 6-2
2015 | Marseille final | Simon 6-4 1-6 7-6(4)
2013 | Australian Open R32 | Simon 6-4 6-4 4-6 1-6 8-6
2012 | Bangkok QF | Simon 6-4 6-1
2012 | Montpellier SF | Monfils 4-6 7-6(4) 6-4
2011 | Hamburg QF | Simon 6-4 3-6 6-0
2009 | Australian Open R16 | Simon 6-4 2-6 6-1 RET
Gael Monfils vs Gilles Simon Match Preview
Monfils and Simon have been involved in some crazy matches since their first meeting over a decade ago – are fans in Rotterdam in for another wild ride when the two countrymen square off for the 10th time for a spot in the quarter-finals on Thursday?
To be fair, a lot of those unexplainable matches came at a time when Monfils wasn’t the most consistent or focused player, but the pair haven’t played since 2017 and the defending champion is a lot more professional with his approach to tennis these days.
Monfils has won nine of his 11 matches to start 2020, reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open and claiming his ninth career title at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier last week, defeating Vasek Pospisil in the final. The World No. 9 faced a quick turnaround in Rotterdam, but he was clinical in dispatching Joao Sousa by a 6-3 6-2 scoreline, breaking serve on four occasions as he cruised past the out-of-form Portuguese.
“It is never easy to adapt yourself to new conditions, so I was very pleased with my performance today,” said Monfils. “Moving well was the key for me… I am very happy.”
Monfils has quietly made his way back into the top 10 after an underrated last 12 months, which included winning one of the biggest titles of his career here in Rotterdam (beating Stan Wawrinka and Daniil Medvedev in back-to-back three setters), while he also reached semi-finals at the Montreal Masters, Sofia, Dubai and Vienna, along with making the fourth round at Roland Garros and the U.S. Open. Monfils was one win away from qualifying for the ATP Finals at the end of 2019, but he failed to beat Denis Shapovalov at the Paris Masters.
Can the 33-year-old keep his winning momentum going into the quarter-finals?
Simon will once again prove a frustrating obstacle to overcome. The 35-year-old is making his 11th appearance in Rotterdam and has a solid 14-10 record at the 500-level tournament, making the semi-finals on three occasions in 2008, 2013 and 2015, beating Andy Murray at the latter. Simon hasn’t been past the second round since that season, but he produced a trademark grinding performance to outlast Mikhail Kukushkin 7-6(3) 3-6 6-3 in two hours and 41 minutes in his opening round on Wednesday.
One of the most consistent players on tour for over a decade, Simon broke into the top 10 way back in 2008 after advancing to the Madrid Masters final, reaching his career-high ranking of No. 6 the following season after making the Australian Open quarter-finals. Simon has won 14 ATP titles throughout his career and has finished inside the top 100 for the last 14 straight years since 2006. The Frenchman’s highlights in 2019 included making the final of Queen’s Club and semi-finals in Pune, Sydney and Marrakech, but he hasn’t had a great start to 2020, losing in the opening rounds of Adelaide and Montpellier and the second round of the Australian Open.
Gael Monfils vs Gilles Simon Prediction
Monfils is operating at a high level right now, but the combination of fatigue and his 2-7 record against Simon makes me think he could be in trouble in Rotterdam. Simon is the last player you want to play without much rest and Monfils has struggled to outlast his countryman various times in the past. Simon was the immovable object in his opening round and if he can remain his consistent self from the baseline again, he could just have Monfils’ number for the eighth time on Thursday night.