Shaky Start For Djokovic In Cincinnati, Venus, Tsonga Fall; Federer, Murray, Serena Wednesday
by Staff | August 12th, 2014, 11:17 pm

After flaming out of Toronto last week to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in one of his worst career losses, Novak Djokovic began his quest for a first Cincinnati title with a shaky 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 second round win over Gilles Simon.

The World No. 1 who is trying to become the first player to win all nine Masters titles – only missing Cincinnati – was down a break in the first, blew a break lead in the second before finally putting away the Frenchman in a rain-affected third.

“I think I did well for the most of the match,” Djokovic said. “End of the second, start of the third wasn’t that great, but I try to take positives from every match. I know I’m not playing at the level yet where I want to be and it’s obvious, but I keep on pushing myself.

“Every day is a new challenge to try to look out for a better game tomorrow and after tomorrow, and hopefully it’s going to come.”

Earlier, red-hot Toronto champion Tsonga fizzled against Mikhail Youzhny. Tsonga, who had beaten four straight Top 10 guys last week, put up little opposition in a 6-1, 6-4 lackluster loss to Youzhny.

“It’s never easy,” said Tsonga. “You have to get used to the conditions really quick… I just gave everything on court, but I didn’t have enough today to compete at the good level.”

Among other winners were Marin Cilic, Robby Ginepri, Stan Wawrinka, Ernests Gulbis and Vasek Pospisil who saved three matchpoints to beat Radek Stepanek.

In the women’s event, Montreal finalist Venus Williams ran out of gas against Lucie Safarova falling 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-4.

“It was definitely a quick turnaround,” Venus said. “But she just played so well. No matter what shot I hit, she hit a winner, or if I hit it really deep, she somehow managed to control it down the line. I think she got a little tight at 5-1, so I had some chances to come back, but that’s a deep hole. Sometimes it’s just tough to play opponents who are hitting everything off every shot. She managed to do that today.”

Maria Sharapova also went three sets but she came out ahead edging young American Madison Keys 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

“Against Madison, someone who serves really well, it’s always one or two moments that are really crucial in the match,” Sharapova said. “In the first set I returned quite well and broke her a few times. She got a bit more consistent on her groundstrokes in the second set and there were some moments at the beginning of that second set where I felt that I could have taken the lead and broken her. I didn’t do that, and she stepped it up and was able to break me a couple more times.

“But ultimately I was happy with the beginning of the third set. That was really crucial.”

Caroline Wozniacki, Sara Errani, Sloane Stephens and Svetlana Kuznetsova were among the other winners.

Former No. 1 and defending champion Victoria Azarenka withdrew from the event with a right knee injury.

“Unfortunately I won’t be playing in Cincinnati this year. But I had to make the best decision for me. I will definitely be back next year,” she wrote on twitter.

Azarenka beat Serena in a third set tiebreaker in one of the best title matches of 2013.

In the late match Simona Halep made a strong hardcourt debut ousting former Wimbledon semifinalist Kirsten Flipkens 6-4, 6-2.

On tap Wednesday are 5-time champion Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Serena William, Eugenie Bouchard and Gael Monfils who will be a curious nighttime attraction against Roberto Bautista-Agut.

CENTER COURT start 11:00 am
ATP – [8] A Murray (GBR) vs J Sousa (POR)
Not Before 1:00 pm
WTA – [1] S Williams (USA) vs S Stosur (AUS)
ATP – V Pospisil (CAN) vs [2] R Federer (SUI)
Not Before 7:00 pm
WTA – [7] E Bouchard (CAN) vs S Kuznetsova (RUS)
Not Before 8:30 pm
ATP – [13] R Bautista Agut (ESP) vs G Monfils (FRA)

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32 Comments for Shaky Start For Djokovic In Cincinnati, Venus, Tsonga Fall; Federer, Murray, Serena Wednesday

Michael Says:

Well, that is how tough it is to follow up on your performance back-to-back. After a superlative performance at Montreal, Tsonga just gave it up at Cincinnati unable to compete and gave it on a platter to Youzhny. In the light of this, you can just go back to last year when Rafa won Montreal, Cincinnati and US Open on a trot and the magnitude of his achievement would just sink in on us.

Okiegal Says:

@Michael We seldom see these guys who beat top ranked players back it up. We’ve seen them play lights out and then be wore down the next week. Excessive training, being in the best possible shape, creates stamina. These factors separate the men from the boys. The top guys are in amazing shape and that’s why they stay at the top…..imo.
Speaking of Rafa, just think how hard he had to train to put himself in that position again. An amazing fete to say the least!

skeezer Says:

Simon is a tough out for anyone, especially in the first round. Bad luck of the draw for both that they met this early, so not surprising it went 3.

Re; Tsonga is a rythim player also. Wonder if the conditions were slower and combined with this quick turn around did him in… remember, he is not a Fed, Nadal, Murray or Nole. Just goes to show you just can’t have mojo, but carry that consistent mojo to different speeds and be consistent throughout the year. Something this 29 yr old has had troubles doing.

Michael Says:


That is the difference between a Great Player and a Good player. Great players do something different on court to merit their status. For instance, Tsonga is a very talented player who can produce extraordinary shots with insane angles on his day, but he will look pretty ordinary the next day bewildering viewers as to whether this was exactly the one who played a day earlier ? Fortunately, for Tsonga his form didn’t desert him till the end of the tournament which made him annex the coveted title. Talking about the creamy top, it is just two who are pretty consistent these days – one is Novak and the other is Rafa. And the other two namely Roger and Andy, while the former’s consistency is suffering due to his age, the later has some physical issues which is not allowing his normal play.

Okiegal Says:

@Skeezer… on with your last paragraph. That is exactly what I wanted to say but couldn’t come up with the right words….too much thinking! LOL


You are so right, that is the difference between a great player and a good one. I think about Monfils. He is so talented but I’m gonna say a little on the lazy order to want to be a great player. If he trained like Novak, Roger, Rafa….He could be fantastic. I realize Tsonga and Gael have had some injury woes, but who hasn’t? They just don’t put out the effort to be great, imo.

Okiegal Says:

As Skeezer said, Tsonga has had trouble being consistent in his career. I remember the Aussie Open when he thumped Rafa good and proper. I thought to myself, wow, this kid is going to be a contender, but he really hasn’t been. When he’s on …..very dangerous. But I have to say, Novak looked ill to me the day they played. I couldn’t see the fight in Novak’s eyes. His heart wasn’t in it.

Steve 27 Says:

Well, Tsonga is a head case after all,
The french tennis provide a great players but not provide a great champions.
c’est la vie, après tout. aucun goût d’occasions manquées.
deja vu éternelle.

van orten Says:

fed should have won in toronto. he lost his 5th final of the year. very consistent performance throughout 2014 . tsonga on the other hand had a not so good 2014 and wins toronto right away.

fed should be more egoistic , not so generous to other players ,-)))

RZ Says:

Tsonga’s last two weeks are proof, once more, that it is easier to knock off the members of the big 4 than it is to become a member of the big 4.

Polo Says:

RZ, I like your comment. Very concise, very precise, very true.

FedExpress Says:


tsonga, dimitrov, berdych all out

andrea Says:

oh tsonga. all the hype of you becoming a threat at the US Open. just not enough consistency to be at the top week in, week out. IMO berdych is on the downhill slide. the next wave of young players will push him down the rankings.

RZ Says:

@Polo – Thanks!

skeezer Says:

Cincy is sllllooowwwww….

courbon Says:

That is goooooooddddd…( for Novak )

skeezer Says:

Yes it issssssss

skeezer Says:

Win #300 @ the Masters level. Congrats Fed, you’re through!!

Hippy Chic Says:

Great win for Roger against and up and coming young talent,and congrats on 300 Masters level wins,another record….

Purcell Says:

Pospisil has a strong head on his shoulders. No nonsense, nothing too fancy, just gets on with it. Good, skilful match by both and pretty hilarious interview with Fed on Sky. Congrats on 300 you old devil…sorry…you little devil.

skeezer Says:

Fed gave a world class interview with JG after the match. Then went directly brhind him to the legion of fans and continued to sign autographs. Awesome model for the game.

thark Says:

It’s possible I’ll take some heat for generalizing here, but it just seems like the French contingent of ATP don’t really mind losing all that much. Gasquet, Monfils, Tsonga – they all seem to just sorta shrug and move on. Normally I would think this is a healthy response, but if you are too sane you lose the hunger. Rafa, Nole, Fed, you can tell losing just devours them. They hate it so much, no matter how many wins they have to balance it out. There isn’t anyone on the French team that seems to feel that way. Maybe it’s cultural, maybe it’s coincidence, IDK.

Anyway, who am I to judge, Monfils is a hell of a dancer, but all the time these guys spend dancing, Rafa is on the practice courts trying to add one more RPM…

El_Flaco Says:

Cincy used to be lightning fast a few years ago.

Okiegal Says:

@RZ 11:40

True dat!!

Wog boy Says:

Who is watching Gulbis? Is he playing bad or Johnson is playing good.

Steve 27 Says:

Is Thomas Berdych in decline?. I remember Roddick losing against Lu in Wimbledon 4 years ago. Is the beginning of the end to the Czech?

Wog boy Says:

Well, as I said before, that was short lived addiction. Gulbis is out.

Daniel Says:

Berdych seems on a decline, he is not making quarters as his ranks show. Let’s see if the trend continues but I rather see a fresh name on WTF instead of having him there to be punch bag for everybody else.

Humble Rafa Says:

While you are doodling over some guy’s 300th master’s win, check out my win loss record on the masters.

Also ask your reasonable brain, how long can this record last.

skeezer Says:

Agut has no gut. Monfiks breaks his serve on the 1rst game of the second, and he is folding like a quesadilla.

Humble Rafa Says:

Things to do before you go to bed

1) watch lesser players play
2) Stir up Skeeze
3) Prep for doctor visit
4) Turn off lights
5) Go to bed hoping no injury will occur while asleep

skeezer Says:

I sleep good every night. Apparently some struggle with injuries while sleeping. I am sorry about that. Get well soon. Whilst getting well, enjoy watching Feds tweeners and 17 all time best Slams.
Nighty night.

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