Paris Masters: Novak Djokovic Survives Sloppy Second Set To Beat Gilles Simon

Paris Masters: Novak Djokovic Survives Sloppy Second Set To Beat Gilles Simon

Djokovic advances to the quarterfinals at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris with the win over Simon. It is top seed's 12th straight win at this tournament dating back to 2013.

Chris Spiech

Novak Djokovic's win streak reaches 19 matches in a row since losing the final at the Western & Southern Open in August. The win also marked his ninth straight over Gilles Simon.

Djokovic Battles Back From Early Break

After an opening exchange of service holds, it was Novak Djokovic who blinked first as Gilles Simon broke him in the third game of the opening set for a brief 2-1 lead. As with many matches, Djokovic would not let that lead hold for long. The top seed went right after Simon's serve in the next game as he broke back immediately to get the set back on serve at 2-2. After a love service hold, Djokovic struck again with a second break of Simon for a 4-2 lead that he would make stand up as he took the first set 6-3. Djokovic did well in the first set off the Simon serve as he won 48 percent of the points played off the Frenchman's service games.

Sloppy Second Set

The second set was a nightmare for both men on serve. With Simon opening the set, Djokovic crafted a break point and converted for a quick lead. That lead evaporated in the next game as the Serb struggled to find the range on his serve. Simon took advantage on the third break point of the game to even the set at 1-1. Both players went completely off the rails on serve with five more service breaks in a row as neither man could hold serve through the first seven games. With a 4-3 lead, Djokovic finally fought through another break chance on his serve to hold for a 5-3 lead. Simon would hold for the first time in the set to move the score to 5-4 in favor of the top seed.

Djokovic's first attempt to serve out the set and the match did not go well as he was broken for the fourth time in the set to even things at 5-5. In typical Djokovic fashion though, he would use his superior return game to come right back and break the Frenchman for a fifth time in the set for a 6-5 lead. On his second chance to serve out the match, Djokovic did not fail. A love service game saw him through with a fairly ugly 6-3, 7-5 win over Simon. Djokovic's service numbers for the set saw him win just 29 percent of his second serves as Simon took 12 of 17 points. He won 61 percent of his first serve points. Simon was an absolute mess, winning just 32 percent of his service points in the set.

Surviving Bad Service Matches

Djokovic acknowledged after the match that he was far from his best, saying "It happens. In sport there are days when you just lose your rhythm. It was frustrating, I can assure you, losing four service games in (the second) set, It hasn't happened to me for a long time."

Djokovic continued in his post-match press conference, saying that he felt he could beat the Frenchman in other ways when his serve failed him, "I returned well entire match. I didn't give him too much room to improve his game. I feel like I have a good chance from the baseline against anyone."

Quarterfinal Opponent For Djokovic

Despite the service issues on Thursday, the Serb has now won 26 straight sets. That covers the span of his last 12 matches of his overall 19 match winning streak. Djokovic is slated to play either Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals in Paris on Friday. Djokovic is 19-2 against Berdych all-time, while Tsonga has had some success against the Serb with six wins in 20 matches. Djokovic won their most recent meeting at the Shanghai Masters 6-2, 6-4.