"It's always an honor to qualify," Roddick said of the Tennis Masters Cup. "I think this is six straight years, so that's a good accomplishment. They put on a great event there, so I'm looking forward to it.
"It shows consistency. A lot of times people dip down for a year or two and then kind of get back. So it's been a solid process, but I think I've gone about it the right way and picking and choosing my spots.
I think that's helped me be ready or at least want to compete every time I go out on the court, and I think that many years is just a testament to being ready to compete maybe more than anything."
Seventh seed Roddick struck 15 aces and dropped 14 points on serve to record his second career win over No. 10 seed Simon (also 2007 ATP Masters Series Miami), who must now wait to learn whether he will qualify for the prestigious circuit finale. The 26-year-old Roddick has captured three ATP titles at San Jose (d. Stepanek), Dubai (d. Lopez) and Beijing (d. Sela) this season, while Simon – also a three-time titlist – dropped to a 49-25 mark.
Roddick has qualified for the Tennis Masters Cup for the sixth time in his career. He has reached the semifinals three times in 2003 (l. to Federer), and 2004 (l. to Hewitt) at Houston and last year in Shanghai (l. to Ferrer). He qualified in 2005, but withdrew prior to the event due to a back injury.
He will next meet French No. 13 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who recorded his second successive victory in three meetings over No. 3 seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 win in one hour and 54 minutes. Tsonga, who captured his first ATP title over Djokovic in Bangkok last month, is 41 points behind No. 8-placed Simon in the ATP 2008 Race. The 23-year-old La Rippe, Switzerland resident improved to 30-12 on the season, while Tennis Masters Cup qualifier Djokovic fell to a 60-16 mark.
Tsonga said that his performance had a little bit of everything. "I really played beautiful matches. Things are happening during those matches. There's a lot of intensity, sometimes frustration, sometimes a lot of joy, and I love tennis like that.
"I think players are trying to find a solution against me, and lately they've been playing a lot on my backhand.
For me, the more they hit on my backhand the more my backhand improves, thanks to them. It's just the fact that I play more backhands so it becomes better."
Defending champion and No. 8 seed David Nalbandian(pictured right) continued his late season charge by knocking out ninth-seeded Argentine compatriot Juan Martin del Potro 6-4, 6-0 in 67 minutes for a place in the BNP Paribas Masters quarterfinals. It was the pair's third meeting in as many weeks. Del Potro, currently No. 7 in the ATP 2008 Race with 369 points, must now wait to see if he has done enough to qualify for Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai. Nalbandian, who has 300 points and is placed No. 13, can qualify dependent on other players' results.
The 26-year-old Nalbandian hit six aces, won 25 of 30 points on first serve and converted five of 11 break point opportunities. Tandil resident del Potro won 13 of 42 points in the second set. Had del Potro won, he would have knocked Nalbandian out of the year-end Top 10 rankings for the first time since 2002. The 20-year-old dropped to 45-13 on the season, highlighted by four titles and one runner-up finish.
Nalbandian, currently No. 8 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, improved to 9-2 at the indoor event and 41-15 on the season. He has clinched two ATP titles at Buenos Aires (d. Acasuso) and Stockholm (d. Soderling) and finished runner-up at Acapulco (l. to Almagro) and Basel (l. to Federer).
Another player attempting to qualify for Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai, American James Blake, defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-4, 6-4 in 67 minutes.
Latest ATP 2008 Race Standings (after Thursday's play in Paris)
1) Rafael Nadal# 1335 (adds 20 pts if wins Friday)
2) Roger Federer# 1041 (adds 20 pts if wins Friday)
3) Novak Djokovic# 929
4) Andy Murray# 684 (adds 20 pts if wins Friday)
5) Nikolay Davydenko# 443 (adds 20 pts if wins Friday)
6) Andy Roddick 394# (adds 20 pts if wins Friday)
7) Juan Martin del Potro 369
8) Gilles Simon 356
9) David Ferrer 339
10) James Blake 335 (adds 20 pts if wins Friday)
11) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 315 (adds 20 pts if wins Friday)
12) Stanislas Wawrinka 302
13) David Nalbandian 300 (adds 20 pts if wins Friday)
13) Fernando Gonzalez 284
14) Fernando Verdasco 283
15) Gael Monfils 279
17) Robin Soderling 265