• Simon, Baghdatis clash in Paris first round

    10/29/12 12:31 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Simon, Baghdatis clash in Paris first round France's own Gilles Simon will contest his Paris opener against Marcos Baghdatis on Monday. The winner has a good chance to progress further, facing Victor Hanescu in the second round instead of Roger Federer.

    A big opportunity awaits Gilles Simon and Marcos Baghdatis at this week's BNP Paribas Masters. They are in the top section of the draw vacated by Roger Federer and the winner will face Victor Hanescu instead of the world No. 1.

    But first, Simon and Baghdatis will be squaring off for the fourth time in their careers on Monday evening. Baghdatis leads the head-to-head series 2-1, having prevailed most recently 7-6(3), 6-4 at the 2010 Dubai event.

    The Cypriot is rounding into form at the end of this season and he is making a late push for Australian Open seeding. Baghdatis made it to the semifinals in both Tokyo and Stockholm and he reached the third round of the Shanghai Masters. Up to No. 32 in the world, Baghdatis is 35-24 for his 2012 campaign.

    Simon has quietly compiled a solid 40-24 record this year, but he is slumping at the moment. The 20th-ranked Frenchman is just 2-3 since finishing runner-up in Bangkok and one of the wins came via retirement from Janko Tipsarevic. Simon is coming off a second-round loss to Marcel Granollers in Valencia.

    This could go either way, with Baghdatis having a small edge in current form and Simon enjoying a bit of a home-court advantage. Look for Simon to treat the crowd to a tough three-set victory.

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