Djokovic pushes past Simon to advance at Cincinnati Masters
By Scott Williams ,AFP
August 14, 2014, 12:01 am TWN
CINCINNATI, Ohio -- Novak Djokovic pulled his championship tennis back together after last week's early exit, beating Gilles Simon 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to reach the third round of the ATP-WTA Cincinnati Masters here Tuesday.
The world number one was ambushed at the same stage in Toronto a week ago by eventual champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
But Djokovic made sure he did not commit the same error twice as he began a bid to win the only Masters 1000 title missing from his resume. But he was tested by his French opponent, who took Tuesday's contest into a final set.
“He's not going to give you too many unforced errors and free points, so I knew that,” Djokovic said. “But I managed to get a win in the end, and that's what matters.”
Djokovic went down a service break in the opening set but got it back and added another to take the early lead. In the second set, he went up a break for 2-1 but could not stay the course. A break for 4-3 in the third kept him on the road to recovery.
He ended on his second match point after more than two hours.
Four-time Cincinnati finalist Djokovic improved his record over France's Simon to 8-1. He is playing the pre-U.S. Open Masters tournament for the tenth time.
In the only other second-round match played, Australian Open winner Stan Wawrinka was broken while serving for victory but pulled out a win over German Benjamin Becker 6-3, 7-6 (7/5).
Toronto winner Tsonga crashed back down to earth in his opening match, losing 6-1, 6-4 to Russian Mikhail Youzhny.
The 29-year-old 12th seed found himself back on court 48 hours after beating Roger Federer to win the title in Toronto, the second at the Masters 1000 level of his career.
Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, serves to Gilles Simon, of France, at the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament in Mason, Ohio, Tuesday, Aug. 12. (AP)