Back in 2005, Gilles Simon had a breakthrough run with one Challenger title and six wins on the ATP Tour, moving closer to the place in the top-100 where he entered after reaching the third round at the Australian Open 2006.
On January 30, the 21-year-old Frenchman secured the spot in the elite and never looked back, staying in the top-100 ever since to become the sixth active player with 700 consecutive weeks in that group! Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Fernando Verdasco, Richard Gasquet and Novak Djokovic have all checked that ranking milestone and Simon was there to follow them, finishing 13 of the last 14 seasons in the top-45, overcoming a tough period in 2017 to survive in the top-100.
The previous year was already much better with 33 triumphs and two ATP titles in Pune and Metz, returning into the top-30 and hoping for more of the same in the current season. The veteran who has already played more than 800 encounters had some good results, opening the season with the semi-final in Pune and Sydney and advancing into another in Marrakech before saving the best for grass.
After a few early exits, Gilles was on his good old level at Queen's, scoring four wins to reach the final and earning enough points to find himself in the top-20 for the first time since April 2017! Gilles needed two and a half hours to oust James Ward in the opening round and more than two hours to take down Kevin Anderson, reaching the quarter-final where he required every single atom to pass Nicolas Mahut.
In one of the most extended three-setters on grass (three hours and 20 minutes), Simon prevailed 7-6, 5-7, 7-6 before another tough encounter against Daniil Medvedev that lasted two hours and 37 minutes. Competing in the first ATP final on grass in six years, Simon gave his 200% against another veteran Feliciano Lopez, losing 6-2, 6-7, 7-6 after two hours and 49 minutes, spending almost 12 hours on the court in five matches to earn those 300 points and make a progress on the ranking list that should keep him in the top-50 for quite a while now.