Frenchman Gilles Simon booked his placed in the second round of the 2012 US Open after overcoming American player Michael Russell in an epic match, which lasted for 4 hours and 26 minutes, 7-6 (4) 3-6 5-7 6-4 6-1.
Russell had an early good start into the match, breaking Simon’s serve in the second game and taking a 2-0 lead just before getting broken back in the following game. The American served for the first set at 5-4 after another break of serve, but failed to consolidate and the Frenchman punished him for it as he prevailed in a tiebreak 7-4. Even the stats of the set tell us how close it was, with both players producing 20 unforced errors.
In the second set it was the American who was able to break his opponent twice to win the set 6-3. Russell hit 12 winners, dropping only one point after his first serve found it’s mark.
The third set, which was the longest set in the match, saw Russell keeping his momentum going as he struck once more, taking Simon’s serve in the first game of the set. However, he suddenly seemed to have lost focus and dropping his serve twice, he gave Simon a 4-2 lead. There were a lot of twists and turns in this set, and the 34-years old American was able to stage a comeback that gave him the opportunity to serve for the set at 5-4. Even though he failed to do so, he eventually managed to serve it a couple more games later to take it 7-5. The American hit 15 winners and 26 unforced errors in the third set, while the Frenchman hit 16 winners and 17 unforced errors.
Russell seemed to be on fire as he got another early 2-0 lead at the beginning of the fourth set just before Simon fought his way back into it. Not only did he manage to get a break back, he outplayed Russell at the end of the set, forcing a decider. The stats of this set show that Simon came up with 13 winners and 8 UEs to Russell’s 5 winners and 13 UEs.
The Frenchman kept his high level of tennis in the final set as he dominanted his opponent in all departments. Breaking Russell’s serve twice and taking the with a 6-1 scoreline, he booked himself a place in the second round of this year’s tournament. Overall, the world number 17 hit 53 winners and 55 unforced errors, while the world number 107 hit 45 winners and 72 unforced errors.
Both players were injured last week with Simon withdrawing from Cincinnati due to a shoulder injury and Rusell retiring from his first round match with a back injury, so that definitely had an impact on their performance.
Simon will now play with either Ivo Karlovic from Croatia or Jimmy Wang from Taiwan in round two.
In the other first round matches, German qualifier Daniel Brands dismissed Romania’s Adrian Ungur in straight sets 7-6 (4) 6-4 7-6 (5) and American wild card holder Jack Sock advanced after his opponent Florian Mayer of Germany was forced to retire when trailing 6-3 6-2 3-2.