France’s Gilles Simon won a 47-shot rally to save a match point in the second set but eventually went down 5-7, 7-6 (3), 2-6 to John Millman in the second round of the Sofia Open on Wednesday evening.
Having lost the opening set 5-7, Simon looked on his way out of the tournament as Millman earned a match point on Simon’s at 6-5 in the second set. But the crafty Frenchman held strong for a 47-shot rally, finishing it off with a delicate drop shot.
The 35-year-old Simon held his serve and then secured the tie break 7-3 to push the match into a decider.
With both Simon and Millman defending well from the back of the court the match turned out to be a battle of attrition. In the first set, it took them 78 points and an hour and eight minutes just to get to 5-5.
Only earlier this month, the 31-year-old Millman had earned his first title on tour as he won the ATP event in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. Four years junior to Simon, the Australian’s physicality got him through in the third set.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) November 11, 2020
But not without a fight. Simon saved the third match point for Millman by winning another long rally, this time worth 33 shots. A service winner from the Australian however helped him seal the match after three hours and 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, second seed Felix Auger-Aliassime followed fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov out of the tournament.
Italy’s Salvatore Caruso defeated the World No 21 6-4, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals in Sofia. Auger-Aliassime’s season ends with a 23-19 record. He reached three ATP Tour finals (Rotterdam, Marseille, Cologne).
Jannik Sinner, 19, powered his way into his fourth tour-level quarter-final of the season by defeating lucky loser Marc-Andrea Huesler of Switzerland 6-3, 6-4 in 78 minutes.