Gilles Simon breathed a sign of relief after narrowly eclipsing tricky teenager Kyle Edmund courtesy of two tiebreak sets on Centre Court.
The world #17 got so much more than he bargained in Wednesday’s final Singles match against the rising British star.
Yet it was only the vast experience gleaned from playing on the ATP circuit that booked the French ace a quarter-final spot 7-6 7-6.
No2 seed Simon, in his opening match of the grass court event, faced a set point in the opening set but ably dealt with the danger to snatch the tiebreak 7-5 away from the wildcard.
Simon was broken early in the second set before rescuing his position and forcing another tiebreak out of the 18-year-old, 10 years his junior, which he won 7-3.
Simon’s style of trying to outwit opponents through variation in his shot making has never translated to grass, with his success over Edmund only his 21st on the surface in a lengthy career.
Maybe the ambiance was not ideal for Simon, who won’t be easily erased from the memory of British tennis fans for his very vocal swipe at governing bodies in respect of the Ladies being entitled to equal prize money for winning the Grand Slam at SW19.
Controversy struck a raw cord with sections of the packed Centre Court crowd, who were eager to cheer on the latest Brit in the making – albeit born overseas, like so many of the prominent British players.
Gilles Simon defeats Kyle Edmund in the 2nd Round
Yorkshire-based South African-born Edmund, with just one ATP Tour main draw success to his credit, said: “I remember two years ago hitting with him in Stoke Park and he beat me 6-0 in a set. Two years on I got there and, although I am disappointed I lost, I am still pleased.
“I played well the other day, so I just thought if I put my game on court like I did on Monday that would be the best way of giving myself a chance to win.
“I served well again and he was a completely different player to the guy I played on Monday, so it was a different game style. But I was delighted with my performance because I put everything out there and even though I lost I was still very happy with the way I played.”