Hurkacz gives us Tuesday winner
Bautista-Agut to test Zverev
Hurkacz and Ivashka end British interest
Big names didn't necessarily have matters all their own way on Tuesday, with Novak Djokovic pushed to a first-set tiebreak by Ivan Gakhov, while Andrey Rublev and Alexander Zverev both needed to fight back from a set down to win in three.
The current version Zverev continues to have plenty to prove to me.
We did pick up a winner though, with Hubert Hurkacz edging Jack Draper, and with Dan Evans losing to Ilya Ivashka, yesterday signaled the end of British interest in the men's singles already at this early stage.
Zverev opposable against Bautista-Agut
The remaining 12 matches in round two take place on Wednesday, and there's the general array of strong favourites as is typically the case for a second round of a Masters 1000 event.
These include the likes of Jannik Sinner, Karen Khachanov, Casper Ruud and to a slightly lesser extent, Daniil Medvedev. The third seed is unlikely to be a fan of the slow clay conditions here, which is logically why the market is offering 1.758/11 for Medvedev to get the better of the wild card Lorenzo Sonego.
Slightly smaller priced at 1.434/9 is the aforementioned Zverev, who is still yet to defeat a top 50 player on the main tour this season, and is underwhelming on his season-long data so far, particularly on return.
However, he gets the opportunity to do pick up a top 50 scalp on Wednesday, facing Roberto Bautista-Agut.
The Spaniard is still a competent clay-courter, although at almost 35 years of age, is perhaps in the autumn of his career.
To me, Bautista-Agut looks undervalued at 3.259/4, and with general market prices just shy of even money with a 3.5+ game head start, and marginally shorter on the set handicap (Bautista-Agut to win a set) there are options for those who are keen to oppose Zverev.
Cerundolo very capable of defeating Berrettini
Similarly to Zverev, another player who has had injury issues and a tough 2023 so far is Matteo Berrettini, and he faces a tricky-looking clash against the Argentine clay-courter, Francisco Cerundolo.
The Italian has suffered a number of defeats on hard court this season as a heavy favourite, so is unlikely to be particularly confident here against an opponent who should enjoy conditions much more.
Conversely, Cerundolo, the marginal underdog at 2.0421/20, should come in with confidence after reaching the quarter-finals in Miami several weeks ago, and Berrettini will need to exhibit a high level if he is to get the win.
Big step up for Thiem against Rune
Finally, there's another big test in prospect for Dominic Thiem, who faces Holger Rune.
Rune is the 1.4640/85 favourite, and it's tough not to think that he's not some slight value even as a solid favourite in one of the evening matches.
Thiem is just 4-7 in main tour matches this year (4-10 including qualifiers and Davis Cup) running at around 97% combined service/return points won, a level which won't get the job done very often against top opposition.
However, the market appears to be relatively keen to keep him onside after winning a couple of matches in Estoril and then beating Richard Gasquet in round one, but Rune on clay will be a far different prospect and a huge step up to anything that Thiem has beaten since he returned to the tour from injury.