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Gilles Simon celebrates his 500th career match win after beating Steve Johnson in the Roland Garros second round.

Simon Notches 500th Win In Final Roland Garros

Frenchman tops Johnson in straight sets

Gilles Simon survived a five-set thriller to extend his Roland Garros farewell in the opening round. After going the distance to upset Pablo Carreno Busta, he had an easier time of it on Thursday against American Steve Johnson.

The 37-year-old French wild card made the most of the Court Philippe Chatrier stage to earn his 500th match win with a 7-5, 6-1, 7-6(6) result, advancing to the third round in Paris for the first time since 2018. Just as in his Tuesday victory, he rode a wave of crowd support to get over the line, leaving the fans on the stadium court singing "Seven Nation Army" after he secured victory on his second match point.

The topsy-turvy contest included 11 breaks of serve, with Simon breaking seven times on 17 chances. The home favourite fell a double break behind at 0-3 in the opening set only to win four straight games to establish himself in the contest. 

From 5-all in the first set, he won seven straight games to take command of the match. But there were more twists in the third set, as Simon twice let a break advantage slip, including when he served for the match at 5-4. After playing for nearly four hours in the opening round, Simon avoided another marathon match by claiming a tight tie-break in which just three points went against serve.

Simon advances to face 20th seed Marin Cilic after the Croatian defeated Marton Fucsovics, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-3, earlier on Thursday. With one more victory, Simon will match his best run at his home Grand Slam by reaching the last 16 for what would be the fourth time (2011, 2013, 2015).

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