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US Open 2020: Gilles Simon vs Mohamed Safwat preview, head-to-head & prediction

Gilles Simon in action at the 2020 Rotterdam Open
Gilles Simon in action at the 2020 Rotterdam Open
Namit Kumar
ANALYST
Modified 30 Aug 2020, 21:27 IST
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Match details

Fixture: Gilles Simon vs Mohamed Safwat

Date: 31 August 2020

Tournament: US Open 2020

Round: First Round (Round of 128)

Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York, USA

Category: Grand Slam

Surface: Outdoor hardcourt

Prize money: $39,024,000

Match timing: 2 pm EDT, 11.30 pm IST

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Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN | India - Star Sports / Hotstar

Gilles Simon vs Mohamed Safwat preview

Mohamed Safwat at the 2020 Dubai Open
Mohamed Safwat at the 2020 Dubai Open

Gilles Simon has not made it past the second round of a Grand Slam since Wimbledon 2018 and he will hope to right that wrong at the 2020 US Open, where he opens his campaign against Egyptian journeyman Mohamed Safwat on Monday.

Simon, who was once ranked as high as 6 in the world but is now 54, looked in good touch before the enforced COVID-19 break. The Frenchman made it to the semi-finals of Marseille, defeating World No. 5 Daniil Medvedev en route, before bowing out to Felix Auger Aliassime.

He was also in fine form in exhibition events following the season's resumption but could not replicate that in the Western and Southern Open, where he was defeated by Sebastian Korda in the final qualifying round.

Simon's first-round opponent in Flushing Meadows, Mohamed Safwat, does not pose much of a threat given his lack of experience at the Grand Slam level.

Safwat, who will become the first tennis player to represent Egypt at the Olympics if he takes the court in Tokyo next year, enjoyed a solid start to the season, winning a Challenger event in Launceston, Australia in February.

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However, he has not played a match since March and his lack of match practice could come back to haunt him.

Gilles Simon vs Mohamed Safwat head-to-head

The meeting in New York is the first between the two players, so the head-to-head between Gilles Simon and Mohamed Safwat currently stands at 0-0.

Gilles Simon vs Mohamed Safwat prediction

Gilles Simon at the 2019 Fever-Tree Championships at Queens Club
Gilles Simon at the 2019 Fever-Tree Championships at Queens Club

Given their Grand Slam pedigree and gulf in the rankings, Simon is the clear favourite heading into Monday's encounter.

Simon's counter-punching style of tennis can be a nightmare to deal with, especially for players who have never faced the Frenchman before.

Simon's serve, however, is his achilles heel and Safwat will need to stay aggressive on return if he is to have any chance of pulling off the upset.

Prediction: Gilles Simon to win in four sets.

Published 30 Aug 2020, 21:27 IST
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