Djokovic Through In Cincinnati• Tsonga, Venus Crash

VenusWorld number one Novak Djokovic needed three sets to get past Gilles Simon in the Western and Southern Open second round but Jo-Wilfried Tsonga lost to Mikhail Youzhny in his opener two days after winning the Rogers Cup in Toronto.

Djokovic grabbed the crucial third set break in the seventh game to prevail 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Coming off a round-of-16 loss in Toronto, the Wimbledon champion pulled out the crucial points when he had to.

Earlier, Tsonga was brought back down to earth with a bump with a 6-1, 6-4 loss in his tournament opener to Russian Youzhny.

The 12th-seeded Frenchman, whose victory over Roger Federer in the Toronto final was his fourth straight win over a top -10 opponent, including a win over Djokovic, offered little resistance as Youzhny advanced in 68 minutes.

“I just gave everything last week,” said Tsonga, who was unable to get any practice on Monday due to rain. “Before the match I believed I was able to play at the good level but on the court I realized that it’s going to be impossible and it was.”

Venus Williams failed to sustain the momentum from her run to last week’s Montreal final and ran out of gas in Cincinnati as she fell 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 to 16th-seed Lucie Safarova in the first round of the Western and Southern Open.

Williams, who beat her top-ranked younger sister Serena to reach the Rogers Cup final, where she lost to Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska, looked like she might be ready to make another run in Cincinnati after taking the opening set in a tiebreak.

However, the seven-time grand slam champion could not convert any of her four break chances in the second while Safarova converted her one and only opportunity to level the match. “It was definitely a quick turnaround, maybe would have been a little better to play a little later in the day,” said Williams, back in top 20 for first time since March 2013 following her runner-up finish at Montreal.

In the other feature second round contests Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki made short work of China’s Zhang Shuai 6-2, 6-3 win and second seed Simona Halep won 6-4, 6-2 over Kirsten Flipkins.

Also in the first round, American Sloane Stephens beat German Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 6-3 and 14th seed Italian Sara Errani beat qualifier Yanina Wickmayer 7-5, 3-6, 7-6. –Reuters

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