ATP Cologne 2: Simon dominates Thompson (6-3, 7-5) in the 1st round, Mannarino beats Popyrin

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Mannarino starts well

Adrian Mannarino, 41st in the world, quick winner of the Australian Alexei Popyrin, 109th in the world, (6-2, 6-2) in just over an hour, joined Gilles Simon among the French qualified on Monday for the eighth of Cologne tournament final.

Mannarino will face Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic (39th) for a place in the quarterfinals.

Simon will find Shapovalov

Gilles Simon has found good feelings again. Like last week in the same city of Cologne, which therefore hosts two consecutive tournaments – a fairly unprecedented situation on the circuit due to the difficulty for certain events to comply with the ATP specifications in these times of coronavirus -, the French crossed the first round by controlling the Australian Jordan Thompson, 60th player in the world, in two sets (6-3, 7-5) and 1h45 of play. Very solid in the exchange, he therefore won the right to challenge Denis Shapovalov to hope to win the quarter-finals.

Casually, Gilles Simon won Monday the 490th victory of his career on the circuit. And if the recovery has been difficult for him since August, the native of Nice has shown in the last two weeks that he still had sacred legs to soon 36 years. In indoor conditions that he appreciates, as evidenced by his semi-final in Marseille at the start of the year, he won the endurance standoff on Monday against an opponent he was able to take in his sector: that of the regularity in the exchange.

In the little game of patience, Simon had (as often) the last word

When serving for the match at 6-3, 6-5, Simon had conceded only one break point throughout the game, which Thompson had also converted to catch up at the start of the match. (from 3-1 to 3-3). However, the French could not really rely on a high quality of service (48% first but 83% of points gained behind). This is to say the ability of the man to keep up the pace of the bottom, many rallies have moreover exceeded 30 strokes. His talents to neutralize his opponent, like a hypnotist, got the better of the Australian’s patience in the 11th game of the second set, even as the latter had raised the tone on his serve.

Facing Shapovalov, the challenge promises to be even greater. But Simon had shown in the first round of Roland Garros that he had the weapons to hamper the Canadian. The latter had also paid for his lack of consistency against Rublev in the semi-final of Saint Petersburg last Saturday. And if he becomes distracted again, it’s a safe bet that the old tricolor briscard will know how to take advantage.

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