The Frenchman has a good chance to run deep in the tournament as he would have been due to play Roger Federer next, only for the defending champion to withdraw from the event.
After losing to Juan Martin del Potro in the Basel Open final at the weekend, Federer said: "It's just too much, I was trying to make up my mind and I had some little niggling stuff I didn't want to take a chance on.
"I feel very disappointed. I had one of the best weeks of my life there last year, but this is just a last-minute decision."
Simon will instead face Victor Hanescu and if he wins that match he will effectively take the top seeding in the tournament.
In other notable matches, Mikhail Youzhny failed to secure the 400th ATP win of his career as he lost 6-4 6-3 to Spain Marcel Granollers.
Youzhny will now have to wait until next season for his landmark win as Granollers moves on to face fourth seed David Ferrer.
Andreas Seppi bounced back from a poor second set against Martin Klizan to reach the second round.
The Italian triumphed 6-2 2-6 7-6(5) against his Slovakian rival to earn a spot opposite fifth seed Tomas Berdych.
First round results
Gilles Simon (France) beat Marcos Baghdatis (Cyprus) 7-5 6-1
Albert Ramos (Spain) beat Feliciano Lopez (Spain) 7-6 6-4
Marcel Granollers (Spain) beat Mikhail Youzhny (Russia) 6-4 6-3
Alejandro Falla (Colombia) beat Florian Mayer (Germany) 7-6(3) 6-2
Julien Benneteau (France) beat Viktor Troicki (Serbia) 6-4 7-5
Jerzy Janowicz (Poland) beat Philipp Kohlschreiber (Germany) 7-6(5) 6-4
Kevin Anderson (South Africa) beat Thomaz Bellucci (Brazil) 6-2 6-1
Carlos Berlocq (Argentina) beat Denis Istomin (Uzbekistan) 7-6(2) 6-2
Andreas Seppi (Italy) beat Martin Klizan (Slovakia) 6-2 2-6 7-6(5)
Benoit Paire (France) beat Pablo Andujar (Spain) 6-3 6-4