Gilles Simon upsets David Ferrer

Updated: September 1, 2014, 12:17 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- Gilles Simon felt cheated by the weatherman.

Instead of the cool day he was expecting, he faced the prospect of playing a top player who had dominated him in the past on one of the hottest, muggiest days of the US Open so far.

In the end, the skinny Frenchman overcame both, beating fourth-seeded David Ferrer 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 to pull off the biggest upset to hit the men's draw yet. Ferrer was the first of the top 10 seeds to go down, and nobody was more surprised than the 26th-seeded Simon.

[+] EnlargeGilles Simon
Julian Finney/Getty ImagesFrance's Gilles Simon pulled off the biggest upset so far in the men's bracket by ousting fourth-seeded David Ferrer on Sunday.

"I was not really prepared," he said with a smile, "because everyone was talking about the cooler day with maybe some rain.

"It was really, really difficult to play. It was hot and it was so humid. I never sweat like this in the last 10 years."

Simon, who was ranked as high as No. 6 in 2009 and cracked the top 20 earlier this year, came into the match with a 1-5 record against Ferrer, and most of those losses weren't even close. Simon said that actually helped him to play more relaxed, as if he had nothing to lose.

He confounded the Spaniard by mixing up the spin, height and pace of his shots that kept Ferrer out of sync on grueling rallies that often went past 20 shots, the longest lasting 30. Ferrer piled up an uncharacteristic 52 unforced errors, nearly twice that of Simon, who sensed the Spaniard was tiring in the 90-degree heat.

"I felt he was in trouble," Simon said. "It's not very often that him and me are tired like this just after two hours, but I feel we run a lot."

Ferrer acknowledged as much after the match, saying, "It was not easy for me. I was not good with my fitness."

It marked Ferrer's second straight early Grand Slam exit after a second-round loss to Andrey Kuznetsov at Wimbledon. That ended Ferrer's streak of 10 straight major quarterfinals.

Simon moves on to play 14th-seeded Marin Cilic, a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 winner over 18th-seeded Kevin Anderson, for a shot at the quarterfinals. That would match Simon's deepest Grand Slam run, at the Australian Open in 2009.

He will no doubt pay closer attention to the weather for that one.

Weather also played a role for Roger Federer. After a fortuitously timed rain delay, Federer moved on at the US Open in four sets.

The second-seeded Federer was a game from losing the first set to Marcel Granollers in the third round Sunday when play was stopped because of lightning. After they returned to the court two hours later, Granollers won the set, but Federer dominated the rest of the way in a 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 victory.

Drenched with sweat on a humid night, Federer acknowledged afterward that the break helped him. He started serving better in the final three sets.

The 42nd-ranked Granollers was looking to make the fourth round at the US Open for the second straight year.

Shut out in the first set, seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov shut down David Goffin the rest of the night.

Dimitrov won 0-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 in the third round Sunday in a matchup of two 23-year-olds.

"His game was just too good in the first set," Dimitrov said. "But I didn't let go of my belief. ... I thought if I kept a good composure and if I just stayed there mentally, I knew physically I was able to go the whole five sets. But it was just mind over matter a little bit at the beginning."

The Wimbledon semifinalist got in just 32 percent of his first serves in the opening set, but steadily improved that number as the match went on.

"Maybe a year and a half or two ago I would have struggled a lot with a match like that. ... Now, I feel, even if I lose a set, it's not end of the world," he said. "I know I can turn things around pretty quick. I have the weapons."

Goffin, a 56th-ranked Belgian, had gone 27-1 since losing to Andy Murray in the first round at Wimbledon in June. That included a 25-match winning streak -- and a stretch of 36 consecutive sets won -- mainly accomplished at tournaments in tennis' minor leagues. He upset 32nd-seeded Joao Sousa in straight sets in the US Open's second round.

Dimitrov will face 20th-seeded Gael Monfils in the fourth round.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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