WATCH: Glorious Gilles Simon strike against Rafael Nadal at the 2008 Madrid Open

Gilles Simon in action

The Madrid Open is one of the most exciting and unique tournaments in the ATP Tour and has produced some thrilling shots over the years. Check out Gilles Simon rupture a powerful forehand past Rafael Nadal.

Nadal, also known as the King of Clay, has proven his quality at the Madrid Open, holding the record for the most titles won with five. However, the Spaniard has seen himself on the wrong end of the score sheet at the tournament on numerous occasions.

One occasion came from Simon, who defeated first seed Nadal in the semi-final of the 2008 edition. The pair battled it out for three hours and 23 minutes before the tennis great missed his opportunity to go into the final after losing 6-3, 5-7, 6-7 (6-8).

During their clash, the Frenchman played the perfect forehand that found itself millimetres from going out. The pair had squared off with powerful strikes, creating a rally that seemed to never end. Until the 38-year-old produced an unbelievable strike that blew the crowd and Nadal away.

This was the first and only time Simon beat the notorious Nadal. The pair faced each other nine times throughout their careers, with Nadal claiming eight of those matches.

Back in 202The best feeling I had is when I beat Rafael Nadal in Madrid in 2008 because it was hard to do and hard to win.

Simon then went on to face fourth seed Andy Murray in the final, who earned his spot after defeating second seed Roger Federer 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. The pair battled it out for one hour and 35 minutes before Murray secured the title with a 6-4, 7-6 win over the Frenchman.

Unfortunately, for the Frenchman, he was unable to win a Madrid Open title before he retired at the end of last year; but he was able to secure 14 singles titles on the ATP Tour. He also reached two ATP Masters 1000 finals in his career, one in Madrid in 2008 and the other in Shanghai in 2014. This saw the Frenchman claim a career-high No 6 ATP Rankings.

He announced his retirement by saying, “It was a magical, wonderful and extraordinary adventure,” Simon wrote on social media. “It will stop at the end of the year. A huge THANK YOU to everyone who made it possible. There is no sadness, no regret. Just the will to put everything I have left. On every game, until the end.”

Gilles played his final match at the Paris Masters in November last year, falling short to Felix Auger Aliassime by a score of 6-1, 6-3.

“I just feel so lucky to have been a tennis player. It’s what I have always wanted to be,” Simon said afterwards. “I was a professional tennis player for a long time, and that’s why I was lucky twice and I could stop when I wanted, and so I have been lucky three times.”

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