Contrasting playing styles came to the fore in the Eastbourne final between Feliciano Lopez and Gilles Simon.
By the time, the 2013 grass-court season rolled around, the notion that players from Spain couldn't succeed on grass was a thing of the past. Rafael Nadal had won two Wimbledon titles, and David Ferrer and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez had made finals on the surface.
Perhaps surprisingly, one of their countrymen who seemed to have a perfect game for grass had yet to make it to a title match on the surface. Feliciano Lopez, a three-time Wimbledon quarterfinalist, changed that in Eastbourne, England. Unseeded, Lopez advanced to the final without the loss of a set, reaching his second championship match of the year.
By contrast, Gilles Simon made Eastbourne his first final of 2013, and his first ever on grass. The second seed, coming off a five-set loss to Roger Federer in the fourth round of the French Open, didn’t drop a set on his way to the final, either.
Playing in windy conditions, it was Simon with his steady baseline game, who struck first by going up an early break. Lopez got the break back, and eventually earned a set point at 5-4. Simon fought it off and the two went into a tiebreak, which Lopez dominated to capture the first set.
In the second, like Lopez in the first set, Simon earned a set point of his own at 5-4. Lopez battled on and forced another tiebreak. The Spaniard’s streak of winning tiebreaks during the week ended at five as Simon won 7-5 to push the match into a decider.
Lopez didn’t let the missed opportunities in the second set derail him. In fact, he turned up the pressure on Simon and raced to a 3-0 lead. Losing only eight points on serve in the final frame, Lopez wrapped it up 6-0 to take home the title, a first on what was arguably his best surface.
Between 2002 and 2012, Lopez reached the fourth round or better at Wimbledon five times.
Simon was attempting to become the sixth Frenchman to win a grass-court title in the 2000s, after Michael Llodra, Nicolas Mahut, Fabrice Santoro, Richard Gasquet and Sebastian Grosjean.