• Simon outlasts Nieminen, Monfils retires against Brands

    4/24/13 8:42 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Simon outlasts Nieminen, Monfils retires against Brands Gilles Simon overcomes Jarkko Nieminen in three sets on Wednesday in Bucharest. Simon is joined in the quarterfinals by Daniel Brands, who got a second-set retirement from Gael Monfils.

    (2) Gilles Simon d. Jarkko Nieminen 4-6, 6-4, 6-4

    In what was easily the best match of the tournament to date, Simon outlasted Nieminen in two hours and 39 minutes during second-round action at the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy on Wednesday. An in-form Nieminen was coming off a quarterfinal showing in Monte-Carlo and he had defeated Evgeny Donskoy in a third-set tiebreaker (his third in the span of one week) on Tuesday. The 39th-ranked Finn maintained his strong play in this one, specially when he broke back for 4-4 in the first set earned a second consecutive scalp of Simon's serve to steal the opener.

    Simon matched his opponent's level in the middle frame of play and did not get broken a single time. One break of his own allowed the second-seeded Frenchman to force a decider. Simon consolidated an early break in the third en route to 4-3 before briefly cracking. Nieminen evened the score in the eighth game only to drop his own serve and fall behind once again. The 31-year-old had four break chances to make yet another recovery, but he could not convert--even missing an overhead on his final opportunity. Simon won the next two points to clinch victory and book a quarterfinal spot.

    Daniel Brands d. (WC) Gael Monfils 7-6(1), 2-0, retired

    Monfils' injury woes continued when he retired against Brands early in the second set after 58 minutes of play on Wednesday evening in Bucharest. The 105th-ranked Frenchman recovered from a quick deficit by converting his eighth break chance of the day at 3-5 in the opening set. He eventually forced a tiebreaker before completely losing his way. Brands double-faulted at 4-0 in the 'breaker but did not lose any other point the entire way.

    It was all but over when Monfils dropped serve to begin the second. Brands held easily for a 2-0 advantage before his opponent called it quits due to an apparent back problem. Next up for the 67th-ranked German is Simon, against whom Brands is 1-1 lifetime and 0-1 this season.

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