Once upon a time Gilles Simon led the head to head against Novak Djokovic at 1-0 after a three set win in Marseille against Novak however since then the story turned into a nightmare for Simon who now trails the head to head against the Serbian at 1-8.
Gilles had a very good second round win against Benoit Paire who defeated Gael Monfils in the opening round however he now faces the best in the world who didn’t play like the best in the world in his straight sets wins against Thomaz Bellucci.
I watched a majority of the match between Novak and Thomaz and I felt Novak was flat. I think part of this comes down to the court which looks pretty horrific not just the grey colour around the outside but it’s incredibly slow and I don’t think I have ever seen a court slower than this one. Novak is one of the best at dictating the speed of rallies on any surface and speed of court but something just didn’t seem right, Bellucci was quite comfortable on the baseline and was causing Novak issues with his backhand crosscourt into the backhand of Novak where he just didn’t seem to be moving as freely in my opinion.
Sometimes a top player does take a couple of matches to get going, it’s not how you begin it’s how you finish and Novak did get the job done against Bellucci. I do think Simon can cause him trouble, the speed of the court does suit him and he isn’t afraid to get stuck into long rallies with opponents. It will be interesting to see how improved Novak’s level is against Simon than it was in his first match of the tournament. Simon is capable of beating Djokovic however that head to head record must be in the back of his mind.
There last two meetings at Masters 1000 events have gone to three sets with Simon taking the second set in both their meetings however despite Novak’s struggles against Bellucci I can’t see anything but a straight sets victory for the world number one to take him to 75 wins in 2015.