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Top-seeded Simon withdraws from Open de Nice

NICE, France (AP) — Top-seeded Gilles Simon of France withdrew from the Open de Nice on Wednesday, casting doubts over whether he will play at the French Open.

Simon, who retired from his second-round match in Rome this month, said the pain in his upper back was “too strong.”

The French Open starts on Sunday.

The 13th-ranked Simon was set to face James Duckworth of Australia for a quarterfinal spot and will be replaced by French lucky loser Quentin Halys.

Fourth-seeded Leonardo Mayer advanced to the last-eight with a 6-4, 6-0 win over French wild-card entry Lucas Pouille to set up a meeting against Juan Monaco.

Dominic Thiem also progressed when sixth-seeded Nick Kyrgios retired with an elbow injury while trailing 4-3 in the first set.

“I expected a very tough match and I’m really sorry for Nick,” Thiem said. “But I have to take it like this and of course I’m happy to be in the quarterfinals.”

Next up for Thiem will be defending champion Ernests Gulbis of Latvia, who won his second match of the year in a 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 defeat of Alexandr Dolgopolov.

Also advancing was Croatia’s Borna Coric, who beat qualifier Gianni Mina 7-6 (4), 6-3.

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