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Tsonga vs Simon ATP Montpellier Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: All-French battle in Montpellier as Tsonga and Simon meet for the 12th time

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 5 Feb 2019
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs Gilles Simon is live from Montpellier on Wednesday, 6 February from 7:00pm local time/ 6:00pm GMT
  • Tsonga leads 8-3 on head-to-head
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

It's an all-French battle in Montpellier on Wednesday as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gilles Simon go head-to-head for the 12th time, with a quarter final spot at the Open Sud de France on the line.

Aged 33 and 34 respectively, Tsonga and Simon are very much in the home stretch of their very fine careers, which have yielded an impressive total of 30 tour-level titles- Tsonga with 16 and Simon with 14. Both have graced the tour with their contrasting styles, with the powerful Tsonga peaking at No. 5 in the world and the counter-punching Simon getting as high as 6th. Which of these two Frenchmen will advance to the Montpellier quarter finals on Wednesday?

Tsonga has not failed to make the quarters in each of his three previous appearances in Montpellier- in fact, he has reached the semi-finals in all three visits in 2010, 2017 and 2018- but he was made to work very hard for his second round ticket on Monday, needing three sets to get past Next Gen compatriot, Ugo Humbert.

Sending down 21 aces (against Humbert's 17), Tsonga recovered from the loss of the first set to dig out a 3-6 7-6 6-4 victory after two hours and 24 minutes. The former Australian Open finalist was caught cold at the start of the match, getting broken in his opening service game, but he tidied things up after that and didn't lose his serve for the rest of the match, winning 92% of points behind his first serve. After restoring parity in the second set tie break, Tsonga took command by breaking Humbert in the first game of the deciding set, and he maintained that advantage till the end, closing out a hard-fought win on his second match point.

Tsonga will hope for better memories from Montpellier this year, following the disappointments of last season, when he quit his semi-final against Lucas Pouille through injury, after missing two match points in a match he was dominating. Tsonga wouldn't play again until September, after undergoing knee surgery in April. Upon returning to the tour at the Moselle Open in Metz last September, Tsonga understandably struggled, winning just one of the six matches he contested in the remainder of the year.

The world No. 210 has made a better start to the new season, opening with a semi-final in Brisbane, and reaching the second round of the Australian Open, where he lost to Novak Djokovic. Can he progress to his second quarter final of 2019 by taking down Simon on Wednesday?

Gilles Simon. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Simon has also been good this year, starting off with consecutive semi-finals in Pune and Sydney, before suffering a surprise defeat to unheralded Australian wildcard, Alex Bolt in the second round of the Australian Open, despite leading by a set and a break, and by two sets to one and holding four match points. The Frenchman returns to action for the first time since that disappointing defeat on Wednesday when he plays Tsonga in Montpellier.

Simon doesn't have the greatest record in Montpellier, as he is only 7-7 from his previous visits to the tournament, with just one semi-final to his name. He has not made the last eight in his last two visits in 2016 and 2018, and was knocked out by David Goffin in the second round last season.

Despite his Montpellier no-show, the 34-year-old had a fine 2018, claiming titles in Pune (where he beat Roberto Bautista-Agut, Marin Cilic and Kevin Anderson) and Metz. He also made the final in Lyon (lost to Dominic Thiem), quarter finals in Basel, Antwerp and Marrakech, and the fourth round at Wimbledon, where he was edged out in four tight sets by Juan Martin del Potro. The Frenchman improved his ranking from 89th to 30th last season.

Now ranked 31st in the world, Simon has begun 2019 on a fairly consistent note, and he will attempt to reach his third quarter final in four tournaments this year when he plays fellow French veteran, Tsonga in Montpellier on Wednesday.

Tsonga boasts an 8-3 record against Simon, and has won eight of the last ten meetings. Tsonga also leads 8-1 on hard courts, and 5-1 on Indoor hard courts. It's not hard to see why Tsonga excels against Simon on quicker surfaces, as he serves big and hits a lot heavier than his counterpunching compatriot. That said, Simon is no slouch on these quicker surfaces, with his unique ability to frustrate more powerful opponents. Nine of his 14 titles have come on hard courts.  

Simon is a hard man to bet against, but given the lopsidedness of the head-to-head and Tsonga's relatively better record in Montpellier, world No. 210, Tsonga looks set to get the better of the world No. 31, Simon yet again on Wednesday.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs Gilles Simon is live from Montpellier on Wednesday, 6 February from 7:00pm local time/ 6:00pm GMT

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Tsonga vs Simon ATP Montpellier Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: All-French battle in Montpellier as Tsonga and Simon meet for the 12th time

Jo-Wilfired Tsonga and Gilles Simon meet for the 12th time on Wednesday as they battle for a quarter final ticket in Montpellier. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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