Shanghai Flashback: Roger Federer wins first title over Gilles Simon

Roger Federer defeated Gilles Simon in the 2014 Shanghai Masters final

by Jovica Ilic
Shanghai Flashback: Roger Federer wins first title over Gilles Simon
© Zhong Zhi / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Roger Federer claimed his first Shanghai Masters crown in 2014, dethroning Novak Djokovic in the semi-final and prevailing over Gilles Simon in the title clash. After a poor run in 2013, Roger bounced back the following year and conquered five ATP titles in Dubai, Halle, Cincinnati, Shanghai and Basel.

Federer played well at two of the fastest Masters 1000 events that year, winning Cincinnati and repeating that in Shanghai. Roger worked hard against Gilles in the final, delivering a 7-6, 7-6 triumph in an hour and 53 minutes.

The Swiss survived five match points versus Leonardo Mayer at the start of the event before facing only two break points versus Julien Benneteau, Roberto Bautista Agut and Novak Djokovic. Gilles ousted Stan Wawrinka, Feliciano Lopez and Tomas Berdych to advance into his second Masters 1000 final, the first in six years.

Roger won 15 points more than his rival. He still had to take both sets in the tie break to secure the title at the Qizhong Tennis Center, his 23rd at the Masters 1000 level. Simon served at only 51%. He drew the most from his initial shot, saving six out of seven break chances.

Gilles made Roger run for his money, having opportunities to claim both sets and fight for the career-best title. Federer was more efficient on the first and second serve, repelling two out of three break points and forcing many errors from his opponent to secure the victory.

The Swiss had the edge in the shortest and more extended rallies. He needed those sharp and aggressive groundstrokes against the rival who was on virtually every ball. Gilles moved superbly around the court, taming his shots from both wings and keeping his chances alive from start to finish.

Roger Federer claimed his first Shanghai title in 2014.

A backhand down the line winner gave Simon two break points in the encounter's first game. He converted the first when Federer played a loose forehand, making a dream start.

Gilles' backhand worked like a charm, and he held at love to confirm the break and move 2-0 up. The Frenchman landed another good serve to wrap up the fourth game for a 3-1 advantage. Meanwhile, Federer found the rhythm in his games and had only one chance to pull the break back and prolong the set at 4-5 when Simon served for the opener.

The tenth game is always tricky for a server to master. Gilles netted a routine backhand to suffer a break, allowing Roger to level the score at 5-5 and take momentum. Three service winners pushed Federer 6-5 up, and he created two set points on the return in the next game.

Gilles repelled them and brought the game home with an ace to set up a tie break. Simon opened a 3-2 lead, and Federer won the following two points on the return with a volley winner and a drop shot. Simon stayed in the set thanks to a beautiful backhand down the line winner in the ninth point, making things more interesting.

Roger missed an easy volley at the net, and Simon had a set point at 6-5. The Swiss denied it, moving 7-6 up with a service winner and clinching the set with a backhand down the line winner after 50 minutes. Gilles repelled a break chance in the second set's third game after Roger's weak backhand.

He erased another, attacking his opponent's weaker wing to force an error and stay on the scoreboard's positive side. Federer squandered another opportunity at 3-3, with Simon having a massive chance of taking the set after creating two set points at 6-5.

Roger took care of both to avoid the setback, reaching the tie break and pressuring Gilles. The Swiss clinched a mini-break in the fifth point and moved 5-2 in front with two winners on his serve. Federer sealed the deal when Simon sprayed a forehand error, celebrating back-to-back Masters 1000 titles for the first time since 2006!

Roger Federer Gilles Simon Shanghai Masters