Paris Masters: Andy Murray falls to wildcard Gilles Simon as Cameron Norrie makes strong start | Tennis News

Andy Murray was stunned by Gilles Simon in the first round of the Paris Masters.

The 35-year-old had the upper hand to begin the evening and looked poised for a straightforward victory after taking the opening set, but Frenchman Simon staged a comeback, rallying back from a 5-3 deficit and winning four games in a row to claim the second.

And veteran Simon, who is set to retire after this tournament, took the final set to keep his career alive for at least one more match, winning 4-6 7-5 6-3.

Murray broke Simon’s serve in the second game before finding himself down 40-0 in game three. Yet he soon regrouped, spinning a sideline-hugging forehand and saving three break points to extend his advantage.

Simon cut the deficit, holding Murray to love to make it 4-2, but the Scot replied in kind as the Frenchman was unable to post any points in game seven.

It was 5-3 when Murray began to rattle in front of the vocal home crowd, double-faulting for the third time in the set to open the game for Simon, who took full advantage and banked his first break of the match.

Simon fended off the first set point with a smash and tried the same shot to stave off the second but overpowered it to hand Murray the set and another break.

Murray was visibly frustrated, hitting his racquet on the ground when, at 1-1 in the second, his forehand hit the net. Again, Simon capitalised on the mistake to break the Scot’s serve, but Murray got the break back immediately to level the set before pulling ahead.

And it was Murray who had the upper hand at the end of a 24-shot rally, first with an over-the-shoulder shot then a well-placed forehand flick from the baseline, though the Frenchman ultimately levelled things at three games apiece.

France's Gilles Simon clenches his fist after scoring a point against Steve Johnson of the U.S. during their second round match at the French Open tennis tournament in Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Thursday, May 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)
Gilles Simon fought back to defeat Andy Murray in Paris

Murray won the next and earned a critical break point to make it 5-3 before Simon broke back. The match then began to swing in the Frenchman’s favour, Simon making it 5-5 and going on a 10-point unanswered run en route to breaking Murray for a fourth time, then quickly clinching the set to the roar of the Parisian crowd.

Those fans seemed to start getting under Murray’s skin as Simon earned the first break of the final set to make it 2-1 and what had once looked like a potential straight-sets victory for Murray evolved into a dogged battle.

And by the end, for just the third time in 19 meetings, Simon prevailed and will play on, in front of an elated home crowd.

Norrie clinches second-round place

Cameron Norrie, of Britain, reacts after winning a point against Kaichi Uchida of Japan during the Korea Open tennis championships in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Cameron Norrie was clinical in his performance to beat Miomir Kecmanovic

Cameron Norrie made a strong start to his campaign with victory over Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic.

The British No 1, seeded 12th in the French capital, was clinical in a 6-2 6-4 victory and will next play either Borna Coric or Corentin Moutet.

Norrie was particularly impressive on serve, dropping just one point behind his own delivery in the second set and not facing a break point during the match.

Norrie has seen his chances of qualifying for the ATP Finals end with a disappointing run since the US Open, but a strong week here could yet earn him a spot as an alternate.

Elsewhere, Taylor Fritz defeated a resilient Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-5 6-2 victory in 90 minutes on Court Central, while Marc-Andrea Huesler continued his run of form with a 6-2 6-3 victory over 11th seed Jannik Sinner.

“Right now I’m just focused on kind of playing myself into the tournament,” said Fritz. “I feel like any time this year that I’ve won a couple of matches into a tournament, then I’ve done well. So I’ll just try to focus on these early rounds.”

Defending champion Novak Djokovic, world No 1 Carlos Alcaraz, Rafa Nadal and Daniil Medvedev are among the main seeds who received a bye into the second round.