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  • Simon back in action, Mayer looking to defend title

    4/22/12 11:53 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Simon back in action, Mayer looking to defend title A 250-point event in Bucharest joins Barcelona this week in the buildup to the French Open. Top two seeds Gilles Simon and Florida Mayer headline the field.

    Gilles Simon returns to action this week at the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy after a semifinal performance in Monte Carlo. Simon, a two-time champion in Bucharest (2007, 2008), headlines the field as the top seed ahead of defending champion Florian Mayer.

    Joining Simon and Mayer with first-round byes are Viktor Troicki and Marcos Baghdatis. Baghdatis is the No. 5 seed, but he assumed third-seeded Jurgen Melzer's place in the draw when Melzer pulled out. The Cypriot was originally slated to face Potito Starace in round one; now he awaits either Fabio Fognini or Joao Souza.

    Simon finds himself in a soft section at the top of the bracket. Lukasz Kubot is the nearest seed to the Frenchman, who lost to eventual champion Rafael Nadal on Saturday in Monte Carlo. Simon should coast into at least the quarterfinals as long as he gets through what could be a relatively tough opener against Dudi Sela.

    The seeded contingent is rounded out by Kubot, Andras Seppi, Ivan Dodig, and Jeremy Chardy. Chardy moved into Baghdatis' spot and will take on Starace instead of Lukas Lacko. Seppi, Dodig, and Lacko all await either qualifiers or lucky losers.

    Unseeded threats in Bucharest include Grigor Dimitrov, Xavier Malisse, Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, and Filippo Volandri. Dimitrov and Malisse have to go head-to-head in the first round with the winner to meet Mayer. Volandri could be a difficult test for Troicki in round two.

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