Simon misery continues as Open 13 defence ends in first round
Gilles Simon's post-Australian Open hangover continued as his defence of the ATP Open 13 ended in the opening round against Teymuraz Gabashvili.
Since taking eventual champion Novak Djokovic to five sets in the fourth round of the Australian Open last month, Frenchman Simon has lost in the second round of the Open Sud de France having been handed a bye in the round of 32, before losing in second round of last week's Rotterdam Open.
The home favourite, who beat Gael Monfils in last season's final, looked comfortable enough in taking the opening set but fell to a 3-6 6-3 7-6 (9-7) defeat in Marseille on Tuesday.
Fifth seed Simon - who also won the tournament in 2007 - struggled on serve throughout and afforded Gabashvili 14 break points, with the Georgian snaffling three of those en route to round two.
The enigmatic Nick Kyrgios comfortably reached the next round after beating Vasek Pospisil 6-4 6-4, but Feliciano Lopez was defeated 6-3 2-6 7-6 (7-5) by Sergiy Stakhovsky.
Ernests Gulbis, the 2014 champion, saw off qualifier Kenny De Schepper 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (7-2), while Mischa Zverev defeated Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-2 7-5 and Andrey Kuznetsov overcame Lucas Pouille 7-6 (7-1) 6-4.
There was also good news for Mischa Zverev's brother, Alexander, who beat Frenchman Julien Benneteau 7-6 (7-4) 7-5.