Simon delays his au revoir for another day after marathon victory over Murray

AFP

French veteran Gilles Simon advanced to the second round at the Paris Masters on Monday night after an enthralling three-set victory over the former world number one Andy Murray.

Simon, playing in his last tournament before he retires, faced elimination when Murray served for the match at 6-4, 5-3 up.

But the 35-year-old Briton fluffed his chance and allowed Simon to take the next three games as well to claim the second set 7-5.

After losing his service early in the decider, Murray squandered several chances to break back.

And Simon, urged on by the partisans at the Accor Arena, dug in to eke out the win 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 after two hours and 50 minutes at the Accor Arena in Bercy, south-eastern paris.

A packed centre court roared the 37-year-old local hero onto the court. And once the match was underway, they cheered his every point including the errors from Murray.

The Briton went into the clash as the favourite. Murray had won 16 of their 18 encounters over 15 years and he started their 19th match strongly by breaking Simon's opening service game and holding his own to lead 3-0 lead after 18 minutes.

Chance

Murray served for the opening set at 5-3 up after 47 minutes but he fluffed his lines and allowed Simon to serve for parity at 5-5.

But Simon, who had received an invitation from the organisers to play in the main draw, was comparably munificent to the chagrin of the partisans.

At 6-4, Murray was a set to the good after 58 minutes.

Simon suggested a trademark gritty dogfight at the start of the second set when he broke the Murray serve. But he was quickly reeled in.

And then the coda after 105 minutes of play


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