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French veteran Simon wins 14th singles title

media France's Gilles Simon winning his 14th career singles title AFP

French veteran Gilles Simon overcame a shaky opening set on his way to winning a 14th career singles title with a 7-6 (7/2), 6-1 win over German qualifier Matthias Bachinger in Metz.

Simon, ranked 39th in the world, came up against Bachinger on Sunday after the German, ranked 166th in the world, had stunned Japan's top seed Kei Nishikori in the semi-finals.

Simon, appearing in his 21st final, endured a rollercoaster first set in which he threw away early chances, allowing his German opponent to battle back and lead 5-4.

The Frenchman was unnerved and produced a string of errors before regaining composure and saving three set points to force a tie-break, which he won 7/2.

The effect of that success hit Bachinger hard, the German a pale shadow of the player who pushed Simon hard in the first set on his way to losing the second set 6-1, and the match.

"It's been a great week," said Simon.

The 33-year-old added: "Every time I win a title I tell myself that it might be my last so I'm happy to add one more to the list."

Simon's third title from Metz, after successes in 2010 and 2013, means he equals compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as the only player to have won the event three times.

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