World number 8 Dominic Thiem made an early exit in Rome and he didn't change his original plans, entering the ATP 250 event in Lyon just before Roland Garros and winning his 10th ATP crown, the second of the season after Buenos Aires.
The Austrian took down Gilles Simon 3-6 7-6 6-1 in the title match in two hours and 25 minutes, spending a grueling eight and a half hours in four matches en route to the title, not the smartest thing to do a few days before his first match in Paris. Anyhow, he has managed to battle past the home player after a slow start, trailing 6-3 4-2 40-15 and facing a defeat before he raised his level to pull the break back and win the tie break 7-1, boosting his chances in the decider where he lost just one game.
This was the 200th ATP win for Thiem and he is the fourth player born in the 90's who achieved that, after Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin. The Austrian saved five out of seven break points and he won 42% of the return points, scoring four breaks from nine opportunities to emerge as a winner, finding his range in the deciding set when Simon lost the energy to continue on the level he had in the first half of the match.
The Frenchman lost just five points on serve in the opening set and he broke Thiem in the sixth game when Dominic set a backhand long, closing the set on own serve in game nine with a forehand down the line winner. Nothing seemed to be working for Dominic and he sprayed another error at the start of the second set to lose serve at love, and Gilles forged a 4-2 lead after saving three break points in game six.
Facing the exit door in the following game, Thiem fends off two break points with a backhand down the line winners and those shots saved him in this final. Simon wasted three game points in the next game and Dominic broke back to level the score at 4-4 and extend the match and his chances.
The returners have won just three points in the last four games and the winner was to be decided in the tie break. Thiem lost the opening point but he claimed seven of the following eight, clinching the set with a volley winner to send the match into a decider.
Simon had nothing more left in the tank, serving at only 39% and winning 11 points on his serve in four games to suffer three breaks fo serve. Thiem had the momentum and he broke at love in the opening game, cementing his advantage with another break in game three.
He saved three break points in the following game to keep his serve intact and the trophy was in his hands after a forehand down the line winner in game seven, earning another break to book the trip to Paris with tiredness but satisfaction after his 10th ATP title. Final result: