Former world No. 6 Gilles Simon noted it wasn't easy playing against No. 3 seed Denis Shapovalov at Cologne 2 but he was happy to win 6-1 4-6 6-2. Simon, now ranked at No. 58 in the world, stunned world No. 12 Shapovalov to set up a quarterfinal clash against another rising star Jannik Sinner.
"It was really hard. Denis has a very offensive game. He is really going for everything, every time. Missing a lot, but making a lot of winners also. He is creating a lot of stress on the other side of the court,” Simon said after the match, per the ATP website.
“I am really happy with the way I played today, with the focus I had over all of the match. I am really happy to beat him, because it is a very, very good win. I had a tough match with him at Roland Garros. I lost it unfortunately, so I am happy that I am the winner this time”.
Simon preparing for a tough Sinner test
Sinner, who made his maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal at the French Open before losing to eventual champion Rafael Nadal, returned to action this week in Cologne, where he has clinched two straight wins so far.
"It is a tough one [against Sinner]. Jannik is playing unbelievable tennis,” Simon added. “He is one of the guys I am looking at the most since he came on the Tour. I feel he is really impressive. He is improving so fast in many things… I am a tennis player, but I am also a big fan of tennis.
As a fan, Denis and Jannik are players that I like to watch because they bring a lot into tennis. They are just very good and I really look forward to playing against them”. Meanwhile, world No. 9 Diego Schwartzman was happy with the way he performed in his first match as a top-10 player.
No. 2 seed Schwartzman saw off local lucky loser Oscar Otte 6-3 6-2 to kick off his Cologne campaign on a positive way. "It's not easy coming after a few very good weeks, but I like to play indoors," Schwartzman said in his on-court interview.
"I like to play on these kind of slow, indoor courts. I tried to prepare well last week in Mallorca and then I came here with many days to practise. I think I did everything to play a good match today. "I think everything today was working very good. I had confidence on court and I felt really well."