MASON, Ohio (AP) — Novak Djokovic had a ragged start in the one tournament that has always eluded him.
The top-ranked player beat Gilles Simon 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in his opening match at the Western & Southern Open on Tuesday night. It’s the only Masters series event he has never won, finishing as the runner-up four times.
If he wins this week, he’ll become the first with titles at all nine ATP Masters events.
While Djokovic moved on, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Venus Williams left their winning touch in Canada. Both followed successful tournaments last week with early exits on Tuesday.
The tournament lost its other defending champion when Victoria Azarenka withdrew because of an injured right knee. Defending champion Rafael Nadal withdrew before the tournament because of an injured wrist.