Gilles Simon made an impressive start to his final campaign at the Moselle Open in Metz on Tuesday evening, when he downed 2014 winner David Goffin 6-3, 6-3 at the ATP 250 indoor hard event.
Simon, who announced earlier this year that he would retire at the end of the 2022 season, is a three-time champion at the indoor hard-court event. He broke Goffin’s serve four times en route to a 93-minute victory to level his ATP Head2Head series against the Belgian at 3-3.
“We’ve known each other for a very long time and I’m always happy to play against [David], one more time before the end,” said Simon in his on-court interview. “I was really not confident before the match because I know that he can play and I’m never sure about the performance I am going to show on the court. But in the end I played a very good match and it was a very nice win.
“I was playing very consistently today. I had a very good feeling from the baseline. I was missing very few shots and I was able to be offensive enough for him to be a bit in trouble if he started to be passive. So I think I played the match I needed to play. It was really perfect from the start until the end and that’s how I won this one.”
The former World No. 6 Simon has struggled for form this year, but clinched his 500th tour-level win against Steve Johnson in the second round at Roland Garros in May. The next challenge for the 37-year-old as he seeks to extend his 22-9 winning record in Metz is a second-round clash against Italian Lorenzo Sonego.
In contrast to tournament veteran Simon, Emil Ruusuvuori was making his maiden appearance in Metz on Tuesday. The World No. 51 adjusted quickly to his surroundings to fend off the challenge of #NextGenATP Czech Jiri Lehecka with a 6-4, 6-4 first-round victory.
Ruusuvuori was the more dangerous player on return in his first ATP Head2Head meeting with Lehecka, who reached the semi-finals as a qualifier at his most recent indoor tour-level event in Rotterdam in February. The Finn converted three from seven break point opportunities to wrap an 89-minute win and book a second-round clash against seventh seed Alexander Bublik or home qualifier Evan Furness.
Another Frenchman, Arthur Rinderknech, clinched his first ATP Tour win on home soil in 2022 at the third attempt with a 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 triumph against Jaume Munar. He will face fifth seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in the second round, after Zizou Bergs was forced to retire from his first-round match against the Georgian. The Belgian qualifier Bergs had led fifth seed Basilashvili 6-4, 2-1.