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Simon Saves 7 Match Points

Melbourne, Australia

Simon© AFP/Getty ImagesNo. 18 Gilles Simon advances to the second round of the 2014 Australian Open.

French No. 18 seed Gilles Simon saved seven match points in a marathon 6-7(4), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 16-14 win over Germany’s Daniel Brands at the Australian Open on Tuesday.

In the battle lasting four hours and 32 minutes, Simon rallied from 15/40 and three advantages down at 9-10 in the fifth set and again recovered from 15/40 at 13-14. He broke Brands at 14-14 before serving out victory.

An injury sustained in January affected Simon's game plan. “I needed fast conditions. I didn’t want to run so I knew that serving would be very effective.” said Simon. He served 32 aces in the match to Brands' 41. “I’ve never served that many aces in a match,” said Simon.

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Even as Brands increased his lead to a 2-1 set advantage, Simon focused on making his mark. “At least I had a chance, even to win the [fourth] set, to create some pressure, to create something. Then if I lost, I would have been okay with the result.

“I managed to play very relaxed. It was very important, because for [Brands] it was a very tough match, very complicated. He was hitting every good stroke like it was a winner,” said Simon. “He knew he had everything in his hands.”

Simon goes on to face Marin Cilic, who also came through in dramatic fashion, rallying from two sets down to beat Marcel Granollers 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-2.

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