Following a surprisingly sluggish start in Toronto, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic is back at the Western & Southern Open, where he will look to become the first player since 1990 to complete a Career Golden Masters by picking up the only title missing from his mantle. The Serbian star will begin his campaign against France’s Gilles Simon, whom he holds a 7-1 record against in the head-to-head series.
The three-time Rogers Cup champion appeared to be a shade of his former self when he arrived in Toronto to play his second round match against Gael Monfils. Djokovic would be pushed to three sets against the swashbuckling Frenchman and there were talks of an upset before Djokovic managed to clean up his game to break back and secure the win. He would have no such luck in his second match, as Djokovic would come up against eventual champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who would demolish him 6-2, 6-2 to send the world No. 1 packing.
Djokovic wil be playing the Western & Southern Open will slightly more enthusiasm. Now recovered from a month off as well as his wedding/honeymoon, Djokovic will look to complete the Career Golden Masters this week by picking up the only Masters 1000 title that has eluded him his whole career.
“Hopefully I can go one step further this time, but I haven’t been playing as well as I wanted in Toronto. So these couple of days I’ve put a lot of hours in on the practice court to upgrade my game and get my level of performance where it needs to be in order to have a chance to go far in the tournament.”
Although Simon does hold a win over Djokovic, it was their very first encounter back at the Marseilles Open in 2008. Since then, Djokovic has reeled off seven consecutive wins over Simon, all of which took place on hard court.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic in Straight Sets