Djokovic fights past Simon; Tsonga out

 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 on Tuesday.

The world No 1 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 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. 

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. 

“It’s never easy, you have to get used to the conditions really quick,” said Tsonga.Latvian Ernests Gulbis needed a pair of tiebreakers to advance over Ivan Dodig 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-4).

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, with the Russian changing clothes at the end of the second set and starting the third refreshed. Czech 16th seed Lucie Safarova knocked out Montreal finalist Venus Williams, 6-7 (2/7), 6-3, 6-4.

Bopanna-Qureshi exit 

India’s Rohan Bopanna and his Pakistani partner Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi suffered a first round exit in doubles, losing  5-7, 2-6 to Vasek Pospisil of Canada and Jack Sock of the US.

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