Simon pulls out of Sydney
Sydney - French second seed Gilles Simon withdrew from the Sydney International on Wednesday with a recurring neck problem but said he still hoped to play in next week's Australian Open.
The world number 16 became the third French seed to pull out of the Sydney tournament following the earlier withdrawals of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (hamstring) and Richard Gasquet (personal reasons).
Simon, who won in Sydney two years ago, said he suffered the latest setback with his troublesome neck playing doubles with compatriot Edouard Roger-Vasselin on Tuesday.
"I made a bad move yesterday playing in the doubles during the tie-break and it's not the first time it's happened to me," Simon said.
"I knew it would be complicated on Wednesday but I did a lot of treatment on Tuesday and this morning.
"I feel better, but not good enough to go on the court and take my chances."
Simon said he has continual problems with the nerves in his neck and, depending on treatment, hoped to be ready for Melbourne next week.
"I have time if I don't have any complications. It's really difficult for three or four days so it should be right although it's not the best preparation for the Open," he said.
Simon said there was some compensation after the French withdrawals.
"One (Frenchman) is very lucky today. (Julien) Benneteau had to play only four points to make it to the quarters, so maybe it's compensation," he said.
Benneteau went through to the last eight when his Czech opponent Radek Stepanek withdrew with a strained upper back at 40-15 on the Frenchman's serve in the opening game.