The ATP World Tour moves seamlessly on from Madrid to Rome and the second of the back-to-back Masters 1000 tournaments, the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, where Sean Calvert looks at today's first round matches...
"Nishikori prefers players coming at him as Federer does rather than the more patient approach of someone like Lorenzi.."
The historic Foro Italico is the venue for this red dirt event, which will be played in slower conditions than we witnessed last week at altitude in Madrid and although the weather is set fair for the opening days, we could have many delays later in the week when rain is forecast.
Today's play in Rome features the likes of Kei Nishikori, Milos Raonic and Ernests Gulbis on show and I fancy a couple of these to struggle with Nishikori looking much too short at [1.34] to beat home favourite Paulo Lorenzi.
The Rome-born 31-year-old is no mug in conditions that he knows well and Kei has never won a match at this particular tournament, so there is a clear advantage straight away for Lorenzi.
Paulo is hardly the most consistent of sorts, but he has beaten Tommy Robredo, Pablo Andujar and Benoit Paire on the dirt this year and he's performed well in front of his home fans before, which isn't something you can say about a few Italians here, mentioning no names (Fabio Fognini).
Lorenzi has beaten Thomaz Bellucci and Nikolay Davydenko here in the last two years and he took a set from Rafa Nadal in 2011 so he clearly relishes the challenge of playing at home.
Nishikori is too short after beating Roger Federer last week and the Japanese star can get bogged down on clay if he's not able to hit winners and prefers players coming at him as Federer does rather than the more patient approach of someone like Lorenzi.
Kei's results on European clay have been poor, with Madrid last week being his best ever finish and his loss to Andujar in the last eight was another example of his tendency to struggle on the clay against 'lesser' players.
The 4.5 game start given to Lorenzi today looks well worth taking and I'll be backing that at a price of around [1.8] when this match takes place in the cool evening conditions at 8pm UK time.
Elsewhere, Gulbis takes a 4-0 and 8-0 in sets record into his match with Jarkko Nieminen and I'm not sure I'd like to be backing odds-on about Jerzy Janowicz today against the very capable Santiago Giraldo, who's finding some form after injury.
The all-Italian clash between Fognini and Seppi this afternoon has the look of a long affair about it, as their last three clashes have all gone to a decider and I'd probably side with Seppi today.
Fognini has never done well here and Seppi is defending quarter final points from 12 months ago, plus Fogna will be edgy anyway after a monumental choke against Mikhail Youzhny last time out.