Swedish seventh seed Söderling, considered by French opponent Simon as “one
of the best indoor players in the world,” won 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 over last week’s surprise Madrid finalist.
Benneteau beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (7/4), 7-5.
Söderling, who won in Lyon in 2004, had trouble in the first set but hit back in the second and then, breaking Simon’s serve in the first game of the final set, went on to victory.
Simon, who beat world number one Rafael Nadal last week in Madrid, said:
“At the beginning of the second set I felt I was losing it. I wasn’t able to return so well and I had my serve broken twice stupidly.”