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Simon Cruises Past Baghdatis; Seppi Scrapes Through

Paris, France

Seppi© Getty ImagesAndreas Seppi will play fifth seed Tomas Berdych in the second round.

World No. 20 Gilles Simon pleased the home crowd on Monday evening at the BNP Paribas Masters as he defeated Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 7-5, 6-1 in the first round of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in Paris-Bercy. The Frenchman won 12 of the last 13 points and broke serve four times as he cruised to victory over new father Baghdatis in 77 minutes.

The 27-year-old Simon improved to a 41-24 match record on the season, highlighted by winning his 10th ATP World Tour title at the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy in Bucharest (d. Fognini). The right-hander goes onto face Romanian lucky loser Victor Hanescu, who replaced the top-seeded Roger Federer in the draw.

"I think this is an opportunity for me," said Simon. "I will try to take advantage of it. I know my opponent well. I know what to expect. I like playing against Roger, but I think I'm quite happy with that match."

Italian Andreas Seppi battled hard to beat Martin Klizan of the Slovak Republic 6-2, 2-6, 7-6(5) in one hour and 50 minutes. Seppi hit 12 aces and converted four of his seven break point opportunities to record his 38th match win of the year. He will next play fifth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych, who has qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

Klizan, a candidate for ATP Newcomer of the Year, won his first ATP World Tour title at the St. Petersburg Open (d. Fognini) earlier this month and is a career-high No. 29 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings.

Mikhail Youzhny will have to wait until 2013 to secure his 400th match win after falling to Spaniard Marcel Granollers 6-4, 6-3 in 88 minutes. The Russian, who has a 399-288 career record, was broken five times and finished 2012 with a 33-21 mark.

South African Kevin Anderson, coming off a Swiss Indoors Basel quarter-final loss to Juan Martin del Potro, powered his way into the second round by losing just 13 of his service points to beat Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 6-2, 6-1 in 64 minutes. Anderson will next challenge Richard Gasquet, the No. 12 seed from France, who has an outside shot at qualifying for next week’s season-ending championship in London.

Argentina’s Carlos Berlocq saved seven of eight break points to defeat Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 7-6(2), 6-2 in just over two hours. He goes onto face Swiss No. 16 seed Stanislas Wawrinka. Meanwhile, Julien Benneteau will face sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in an all-French second-round contest after withstanding 14 aces to beat Serbia’s Viktor Troicki 6-4, 7-5 in 83 minutes.

Albert Ramos won an all-Spanish clash with Feliciano Lopez, saving nine of 10 break points as he beat his left-handed countryman 7-6(5), 6-4 in one hour and 50 minutes. He goes onto face another Spaniard, and Barclays ATP World Tour Finals hopeful, Nicolas Almagro.

A pair of qualifiers scored first-round wins over German opposition. Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz won 91 per cent of points on first serve as he overcame Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6(5), 6-4 in 82 minutes, while Alejandro Falla broke serve three times as he defeated Florian Mayer 7-6(3), 6-2.

French wild card Benoit Paire rounded out the day’s action, dismissing Pablo Andujar of Spain 6-3, 6-4 in 86 minutes.

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