Sixth-seeded Andreas Seppi was a hard- fought opening-round winner Tuesday at the $522,500 BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy tennis event.
The Italian Seppi was blasted in the first set by French qualifier Guillaume Rufin before rebounding for a 1-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 victory in 2 hours, 23 minutes on the red clay at BNR Arenas.
Eighth-seeded Croat Ivan Dodig, however, was unable to avoid an upset as he gave way to German qualifier Daniel Brands 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 on Day 2.
Israeli Dudi Sela handled Romanian Adrian Ungur 7-6 (7-2), 6-2, while Italian Fabio Fognini bested Brazilian Joao Souza 7-5, 7-6 (7-5).
Additional first-round wins came for Romanian wild card Marius Copil, Estonian qualifier Jurgen Zopp, German Cedrik-Marcel Stebe and Hungarian qualifier Attila Balazs.
German Florian Mayer topped Spaniard Pablo Andujar in last year's Bucharest finale.
This week's top seeds are two-time champion Gilles Simon of France and Mayer, who will tangle with Malisse in the second round. Simon will open his week against the veteran Sela.
The 2012 Bucharest titlist will pocket $95,000.