ATP Metz semis: Nicolas Mahut vs Gilles Simon Preview

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The prospects of an all French final at the Moselle Open in France are even more likely now, this match can give the fans satisfaction that they will have at least one Frenchman to cheer on for Sunday’s final.

Gilles Simon (Player Profile) has been on his comeback from injury this week after  a hip flexor injury saw him miss the US Open, he has also seen the birth of his second son, Valentin just 12 days ago. The 2010 champion is looking to recapture his form here and rediscover that new found aggressive game earlier on in the season. Yesterday’s quarter final posed a real threat to Simon, playing the American Sam Querrey, the 6th seed, but as you would expect when playing a big server, service breaks would be at a premium for Simon. He managed to bring up a couple of opportunities in the first set, crucially capitalising on one of them to take it 64, the second set was even tighter and went the distance with neither player facing a break point, time for a tiebreaker. Simon stepped up and put away Querrey, winning the breaker by 7 points to 1. A big factor in today’s match could be his serve as he didn’t face a single break point yesterday and managed to win 77% of the points when he got his first serve in, if he can repeat that then he has a great chance of making the final.

Nicolas Mahut (Player Profile) is a player enjoying an Indian Summer you could say, now aged 31, he has captured 2 ATP Tour titles this year and is back in the world’s Top 100. Currently ranked at 79,  he has had an impressive run at home this week, upsetting last year’s runner-up Andreas Seppi and ousting Benjamin Becker yesterday in straight sets. Like his opponent today, Mahut served very strongly, winning 85% of the points when he got his first serve in and not facing a break point in the match either. A few breaks was all that was needed for the man who is returning to the semi finals here for the first time since 2008, it was a comprehensive 62, 64 win for the Frenchman.

This match looks like first serves could be crucial, whoever can get more in and win the majority of the points from it should be the victor this afternoon. Simon leads their head to head 2-1, however their last meeting was back in 2010 in Montpellier with Simon winning 64, 64. Interestingly they met in the last 32 here in Metz in 2008 where Mahut won 64, 36, 61, Mahut converting on al his break point chances was crucial that day, and you sense that with the way the two opponents have been serving this week it could come down to the same again.

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