Losing return for Simon
Originally published on: 26/02/10 13:06
The Frenchman was playing in his first tournament of the year after recovering from a knee injury he aggravated in November.
Fifth seed Simon, who spent much of last year ranked in the top 10 but is now down at 16th, had a tough opener against Olivier Rochus and the Belgian proved too strong, coming through 7-5 6-2.
The French home fans were able to celebrate three victories, though, with Josselin Ouanna leading the way.
The 23-year-old, who beat Marat Safin at last year’s French Open, took advantage of his second chance courtesy of Christophe Rochus’ back injury to beat Denis Istomin 6-4 1-6 6-3.
Ouanna next faces second seed and defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who received a bye in the first round.
Eighth seed Julien Benneteau needed two tie-breaks to see off Swiss qualifier Stephane Bohli 7-6 (7/5) 7-6 (7/3) while last year’s runner-up, Michael Llodra, dropped the first set before recovering to beat countryman Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-7 (5/7) 6-3 6-4.
There was disappointment for France’s Arnaud Clement, though, after he was beaten 7-6 (7/2) 7-5 by Andreas Seppi of Italy in the late match.
In other results, Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky defeated Simone Bolelli of Italy 6-3 3-6 6-4 while lucky loser Illya Marchenko was a 4-6 6-3 6-2 winner over qualifier Ruben Bemelmans.