Simon Beats Lonely Benneteau in All-French ATP Casablanca Final

Posted on May 25, 2008

Qualifier Gilles Simon beat countryman and No. 5 seed Julien Benneteau 7-5, 6-2 in the all-French final Saturday at the Grand Prix Hassan II in Casablanca.

"It wasn't an easy match. We were both a bit tensed in the beginning," Simon said. "It's never easy to play your best tennis in the final right from the beginning, especially mentally it's not easy. Even if he broke me pretty early in the beginning I succeeded in focusing on what I wanted to do. I played a very good game at the end of the first set and that helped in the second set. I'm happy because today I was pretty solid in the important moments."

The 23-year-old Simon won his third career ATP title in four finals, his first final in 2008.

"I came here to get some matches under my belt," Simon said. "I added this tournament to my schedule pretty late which meant that I had to play two more matches in the qualifying. Even if I was a qualifier this week, I knew that in theory I was number two of the tournament. I came here to win the tournament. I knew that I had my chances and it was a great week for me. It was my fifth year in a row in Casablanca. I like this tournament a lot and we always get good support from the crowd here."

Benneteau was competing in his career-first ATP final and suffered from loneliness during the week.

"Today it cost me a lot to increase my level of play," Benneteau said. "The conditions weren't easy in my first final. I was here all by myself and sometimes it could help to have somebody in the stands to support you. It's still a very good week for me. I reached my first ATP final. Now my focus will be on the preparation of Roland Garros."