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Simon To Face Lopez In Final

Eastbourne, England

Lopez© Getty ImagesFeliciano Lopez will contest his second final of the season.

Second seed Gilles Simon will face Feliciano Lopez in the final of the Aegon International after both players recorded straight-sets wins in Friday’s semi-finals in Eastbourne. It will be their first meeting in five years, since Simon won on the indoor hard courts of Rotterdam, but will be the first of two meetings in four days as they are due to face each other in the Wimbledon first round. 

"It's always strange situation, but at the end of the day I just have to focus on the first one," said Simon. "I think it's going to be a tough match against him. He's a very good grass court player and I think he played a great tournament until now. So I just hope I would play the same kind of tennis as today."

Lopez said, "This is tennis, and sometimes these things can happen. In a way it is good, because tomorrow if I win or if I lose, I will take some feedback for the match on Tuesday, and I think for him the same."

Simon was a 6-4, 6-3 winner over 2011 champion and seventh seed Andreas Seppi. The Frenchman lost serve at 5-2 in the second set, but immediately broke Seppi for the sixth time to claim victory in 84 minutes.

"It was a real battle from the baseline," reflected Simon. "Andreas is just a good player. He won two years ago. He made the final here [last year]. He has very good timing, so he never misses stupid shots. You have to work and play great. I think we played a very high level second set today."

The 28-year-old Simon has a 10-3 record in ATP World Tour finals and is looking to win his first grass-court title. The Nice native has won at least one title each year since 2007 and is bidding to become the second French champion in four years at Devonshire Park, following Michael Llodra’s victory in 2010 (d. Garcia-Lopez).

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World No. 39 Lopez won 81 per cent of his service points as he defeated Croatia’s Ivan Dodig 7-6(3), 6-1 in 65 minutes. The Spaniard is through to his second ATP World Tour final of the season, having also finished runner-up in Memphis (l. to Nishikori) in February. 

“I'm very happy,” said Lopez, who was sidelined for three months earlier in the season due to injury. “I mean, for me now to be in the finals of an ATP event, it's a great feeling. It's good for me, for my game and for my confidence for the rest of the year. It's definitely a great week for me.

“I'm very happy with my performance. Hopefully I can keep playing like this until the end of the year so I can improve my ranking again.”

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©Lionel Maltese


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