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Simon survives tough opener

SECOND-SEEDED Gilles Simon came back from 2-5 down in the last set to beat Grigor Dimitrov 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the first round of the Open 13 in Marseille on Tuesday.

Dimitrov, the 17-year-old Bulgarian who won two junior grand slam titles last year, served for the match and was two points from victory over the 2007 champion.

"From the moment I broke back (at 2-5), I felt much better," Simon said. "That hurt him physically and mentally, and I won the next games quite easily."

Dimitrov, ranked 401st, saved three break points at 5-4 to take the first set. Eighth-ranked Simon broke Dimitrov at 2-1 in the second set and held on to level at one set apiece.

"It was very tough," Frenchman Simon said. "I played against a very solid opponent who's really strong behind the baseline. He showed that he has the level to compete against the very best."

Seventh-seeded Marat Safin of Russia was ousted by Arnaud Clement of France 6-4, 3-6, 2-6. Safin hit 11 aces in the first set but wore down in the next two in his first match in four weeks.

Julien Benneteau rallied past retiring 36-year-old Fabrice Santoro 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in an all-French meeting.

Other first-round winners included Germans Rainer Schuettler and Mischa Zverev, and Italian pair Andreas Seppi and Simone Bolelli.

In Buenos Aires, Argentina, former French Open champions Carlos Moya and Gaston Gaudio on Tuesday couldn't survive the first round of the Copa Telmex they have also previously won.

Fourth-seeded Moya, the Buenos Aires champ in 2003 and 2006, lost to 108th-ranked Argentine qualifier Maximo Gonzalez 4-6, 4-6. Gonzalez led 4-0 in the first set and almost blew a 5-1 lead in the second. "Without a doubt, it's the most important win of my career," Gonzalez said.

Moya blamed the loss on pains in his leg he's been suffering for more than a year. "I haven't competed in a month," he said. "Now the priority is to put myself in good physical condition."

Gaudio, the hometown winner in 2005, lost to Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain 2-6, 6-4, 2-6 in his first match after a year out with injuries. It's been 21 months since the Argentine won a match and he made a fighting start with breaks in each set, spoiled by 11 double faults.


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