Former world No. 6 Gilles Simon was extremely happy with his last few weeks as competing at the Challenge Elite FFT was something that he needed ahead of the Tour restart. Simon, a 14-time ATP champion, played his first tournament since February when he appeared at the Challenge Elite FFT earlier this month.
The 35-year-old Frenchman didn't play a competitive match in five months but that wasn't a problem since he won five consecutive matches to win it all in the first leg of the Challenge Elite FFT in Nice. This past Saturday, Simon won the third leg of the Challenge Elite FFT in Villeneuve-Loubet after handing out a straight-set defeat to Maxime Hamou In the second leg of the Challenge Elite FFT, world No.
54 Simon failed to make it past the group stage. "I'm happy with these three weeks. I felt the ball very well. I ramped up and in the last week I was more solid," Simon said after beating Hamou, as quoted on We Love Tennis France.
Simon performed extremely well
In the first leg of the Challenge Elite FFT, Simon claimed four wins in straight sets, while only one of his five wins came in three sets. En route to winning it all in Nice, the Frenchman beat Dan Added, Mathias Bourgue, Grenier and Pierre-Hugues Herbert in two sets, while Manuel Guinard was the only player who pushed the 34-year-old into a decider.
The toughest opponent Simon faced at the Challenge Elite FFT was former world No. 36 Herbert, against whom he clashed in the final of the first stage of the event. As expected, the final was tight but Simon managed to claim a straight-set win as he edged out Herbert 7-6 (5) 7-6 (3).
Simon recovered from a break down in the first set of the match against Herbert, before he won the first set tie-break. Herbert failed to serve out for the second set in the 10th game and paid the price as Simon won another tie-break to seal the win in two sets.
This weekend, Simon had a much easier job in the final of the third leg of the Challenge Elite FFT as he saw off Hamou 6-2 6-1. Hamou absolutely stood no chance against Simon as the 14-time ATP champion claimed a total of five breaks and lost his serve once during the final. "This tournament was important for me," Simon added.