CINCINNATI: 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 on 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. However, 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,” said Djokovic. “But I managed to get a win in the end, and that’s what matters.”
In another second-round match, 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).
Meanwhile, Toronto winner Tsonga crashed back down to earth in his opening match, losing 6-1, 6-4 to Russian Mikhail Youzhny.
“It’s never easy, you have to get used to the conditions really quick,” said Tsonga, who found himself back on court 48 hours after beating Roger Federer at Toronto. “I gave my best and it was tough.”
Elsewhere, Latvian Ernests Gulbis needed a pair of tiebreakers to advance over Ivan Dodig 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/4) and Croatian 14th seed Marin Cilic advanced into the second round over Toronto semi-finalist Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-4, while British qualifier James Ward surprised Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 3-6, 6-1.
Canadian Vasek Pospisil rallied to put out Czech Radek Stepanek 5-7, 6-1, 7-6 (7/4) as wild card Robby Ginepri beat Dominic Thiem of Austria 6-3, 5-7, 7-5.
In women’s play, fifth seed Maria Sharapova overcame American Madison Keys 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 and Czech 16th seed Lucie Safarova knocked out Montreal finalist Venus Williams, 6-7 (2/7), 6-3, 6-4.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2014.
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