This will be the first time these two players will play against each other.
This will be the second year in a row that Dennis Novak will participate in this ATP 250 in Montpellier. He was eliminated at the start last year by Emil Ruusuvuori.
For his part, Gilles Simon will play in this French tournament for the 10th time in his career. Like his opponent of the day, he was eliminated in the 1st round in 2020. He reached the quarter-finals 4 times and the semi-finals once (in 2012). Moreover, it has been two years in a row that he has lost as soon as he entered the competition. Never two without three?
During his time in Australia, Gilles Simon was not very convincing. However, it should be pointed out that his two defeats were against stronger men. First of all, there was Jeremy Chardy in Melbourne who was coming out of a very good tournament in Antalya and a victory over Marin Cilic. Then, Gilles Simon had the misfortune to hit Stefanos Tsitsipas in the first round of the Australian Open. Hard to imagine a feat against the Greek during a match in 3 winning sets.
All this to say that I am expecting another Gilles Simon in this Montpellier tournament. For his first match, the Frenchman will play an opponent who is well within his reach. Dennis Novak is also not transcendent since the beginning of the season. Moreover, the Austrian will play against a local. Even if there is no public, that should do something to Gilles Simon who likes to play in his country.
The playing conditions could therefore be in favour of Gilles Simon, who is at home. Added to that is a Dennis Novak who is far from comfortable indoors. As a proof, since 2018, he has participated in 8 ATP indoor tournaments and has only managed to pass the first round once. It was last year in Cologne 1 (1/4 finalist).
In the game, Gilles Simon is no longer young but he remains a tough player who should be able to push Dennis Novak to the limit. So yes, the Austrian has an excellent forehand that could well do a lot of damage in the opposing camp (we’ll have to avoid being stared at too often Gillou). But apart from that, he’s much less consistent when the rally sets in, and the feverishness of his backhand should play tricks on him.
Gilles Simon knows how to play this type of opponent. It’s up to him to do the job.
Prediction: Gilles Simon wins