Gutsy Thiem clinches Lyon title to build Roland Garros momentum
Gilles Simon looked on course for an upset win in the Lyon Open final, but the world number eight showed his resolve to take the title.
Dominic Thiem produced a superb comeback to beat Gilles Simon in the Lyon Open final and build momentum ahead of the French Open.
Veteran Simon took advantage of an off-colour Thiem to secure the opening set, and he led by a break early in the second.
But Thiem, fancied by many as one of the few players to challenge Rafael Nadal's dominance at Roland Garros, found a new gear to record a 3-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-1 victory and win a second trophy on clay this season.
The Austrian consequently wins a 10th ATP Tour title, extending his winning streak over Simon to six matches in the process, and he will now switch focus to his first-round tie with Ilya Ivashka at Roland Garros.
Simon had already seen two break-point chances go amiss in game four before a wide backhand from Thiem gifted the Frenchman a 4-2 first-set lead he would not relinquish.
Thiem appeared sluggish, perhaps a result of having to finish his quarter-final win over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez before beating Dusan Lajovic in the semis on Friday, and a double fault followed by a wild forehand saw Simon break immediately in the second set.
But the tide began to turn and, after holding in a mammoth game six, Simon could not repeat the trick when Thiem broke back in another lengthy game to level the set at 4-4.
Thiem went onto dominate the breaker, winning seven straight points after losing the first, and with the momentum on his side broke twice en route to racing into a 4-0 lead in the decider.
Simon avoided the final-set bagel, but the writing was on the wall and Thiem put the match to bed with a fierce forehand on his second match point.
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