Munar the star for us on day five
Tsitsipas and Medvedev strong favourites to progress
Lajovic price influenced by recency bias
Munar through while Alcaraz and big names progress
Jaume Munar gave us a pleasing win at slightly odds-against on Sunday, eventually easing past Matteo Arnaldi in what was a reverse of his loss to the Italian in Barcelona several weeks ago. The price differential between the two matches was just far too big to ignore, and the Spaniard won 53% of points in the match, and having 10 more break points on return.
The flow of shocks in the tournament so far was stemmed somewhat in the other matches, with the likes of Andrey Rublev, Alexander Zverev and Carlos Alcaraz all winning in straight sets, but in the night match at the time of writing, Holger Rune has just broken back in set three to get back on serve against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and could well be upset by the Spaniard.
Tsitsipas looks short-priced for Baez clash
There are eight further round three matches to conclude that round on Monday, and after a narrow win over Dominic Thiem, it will be interesting to see how Stefanos Tsitsipas fares for his clash with the Argentine clay-courter, Sebastian Baez.
It doesn't appear that the market has any major doubts though, with Tsitsipas trading at a current 1.192/11 to make round four, but while Baez hasn't had a great couple of months after a title in the Cordoba 250 event in early February, he is a competent clay-courter who could pose a threat.
Baez has already taken a set from Tsitsipas in their previous meeting on hard court (Australian Open 2022) and the gameplan in these quick conditions should be for him to be strong on serve and create a high-variance match with few chances. He's going to have to play pretty well to do so, but I'm not sure I'd be delighted to back Tsitsipas at current lines.
Medvedev should have too much for Shevchenko
Similarly priced is Daniil Medvedev for his meeting against the qualifier, Alexander Shevchenko. The duo have never met but Shevchenko's win over Jiri Lehecka in round two was highly impressive. He's clearly a player on an upward curve, winning the Challenger event here a few weeks ago, and has also reached several hard court finals (one title) at that level this year.
Whether that kind of level is enough to test Medvedev is another debate entirely. My suspicion is that Medvedev will have too much in these quicker conditions which he should much prefer to the slower clay events such as Monte Carlo, and I expect a fairly routine win for the second seed.
Lajovic form line facing Struff test
Unfortunately, there is a lack of matches which feature two players close to even money, but it's interesting to see Dusan Lajovic priced as a 1.715/7 favourite for his clash with Jan-Lennard Struff.
Both players have done well of late, although Lajovic has beaten three top ten players in the last couple of weeks, including Novak Djokovic, which is obviously an incredible achievement. However, he lost to both Alexei Popyrin (as a lucky loser) and Ugo Humbert in Monte Carlo, both as a solid market favourite, so I'm fairly unconvinced that Lajovic should be considered a candidate for a career turnaround at the age of 32.
Lajovic is similarly priced for this against the very competent Struff as he was against Jason Kubler in round one, which looks a little out of line. Struff has won all three career meetings, and I do feel that if this match was played several weeks ago, the market prices would be completely different.
Zapata Miralles favourite to continue his Madrid journey
I also expect Bernabe Zapata Miralles at 1.538/15 to continue his enjoyable journey in this event so far, against Roman Safiullin.
It's fair to say that Safiullin hasn't impressed on clay in his career, and actually has a losing record at Challenger level, which Zapata Miralles has dominated when he's played at that level over the last couple of years. There just appears to be far too much of an ability differential here to agree with market prices.