World No. 2 Novak Djokovic (Profile) has a tough task ahead of him in the third round of the BNP Paribas Masters 2013 tournament tomorrow afternoon, as he is set to meet American No. 1 John Isner (Profile) for a sixth time on the tour. The rivalry between these two is a competitive one, with Novak leading the series a 3-2 head-to-head record. Their matches have generally been competitive ones and this will likely prove no different.
Djokovic won his opening round match at the Paris Masters with a 7-6(3), 6-3 win over French qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert. As the scoreline shows, it was not a easy match for the second-seed, as he was forced to save set point in the opening set and work significantly harder to take the opening set in a tiebreaker. Once the first set was his, Herbert did not have much motivation left and succumbed to the former World No. 1 6-3.
Following his US Open finals loss to Rafael Nadal, Djokovic had his no. 1 title usurped by the Spaniard in Beijing, even though the Serb toppled him in the final. Djokovic would follow up his China Open win with a successful title defence in Shanghai. With that win, the World No. 2 extended his win streak in Asia to 20-0 and earned his 15 career ATP Masters 1000 title. Djokovic won the Paris Masters back in 2009 and will be looking to redeem his early exit to Sam Querrey last year by duplicating his efforts from four years back.
The 13th seeded Isner has not had the best of years on the tour this season. His best performance came in Cincinnati, when he bested Gasquet, Raonic, Djokovic and Del Potro en route to his second career Masters final. Since then, he lost in the quarter-finals of the Beijing Open, the second round in Shanghai and the second round in Valencia last week. He will be looking to string together three or more wins for the first time since that fantastic performance in Cincinnati back in August and has a bright opportunity when he meet the Serbian no. 1 tomorrow afternoon.
Isner holds an ATP level win over Djokovic this season, when he defeated the then-no. 1 in the Cincinnati quarter-finals in three sets. Prior to that, Djokovic defeated the American in Davis Cup competition but has not defeated him on the ATP tour since their meeting in Beijing in 2010. It will be interesting to see how Djokovic fares in the contest tomorrow as their August encounter was a tight and competitive affair but ultimately saw a error-riddled Djokovic toppled by the big-serving American.
Could we potentially be in for another upset? We shall soon find out.
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