Djokovic battles past Simon

  • Last Updated: August 13 2014, 8:49 BST

Novak Djokovic had to dig deep to fend off Gilles Simon in the second round of Cincinnati's Western & Southern Open.

Gilles Simon was beaten by Novak Djokovic
Gilles Simon was beaten by Novak Djokovic

Serbia's world number one lost to Simon's compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Toronto last week, and was in trouble after dropping the second set to Simon.

He recovered to post a 6-3 4-6 6-4 win and later said: "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."

Djokovic, afforded a first-round bye, added according to the ATP website: "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."

The Wimbledon champion has a particular target this week, which is to land the title and become the first singles player to complete a career sweep of all nine World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments, the tier below grand slam level.

Earlier in the day, Tsonga had slid to a surprise first-round loss against Mikhail Youzhny, being brushed aside 6-1 6-4 by the Russian who will next face Andreas Seppi.

In the second round, third-seeded Swiss Stan Wawrinka beat Benjamin Becker 6-3 7-6 (7/5).

Ninth seed Ernests Gulbis needed two tie-breaks to beat Ivan Dodig 7-6 (10/8) 7-6 (7/4).