We have 14 second-round matches at the Monte Carlo Masters today, and with many big names getting the tournament underway, Dan Weston is back to discuss the day ahead...
"Numbers-wise, PCB looks the play though. He's available at that slight underdog price on the Exchange at the time of writing, and my model has him at 1.768/11."
One from two on Tuesday after Monday's rain delay
After the rain delay on Monday, we went one from two yesterday with Christian Garin getting the better of Felix Auger-Aliassime as an underdog, but fellow underdog Pablo Andujar throwing away a 3-0 final set tiebreak lead to exit at the hands of Alexei Popyrin. As we've discussed numerous times in the past, fine margins often dictate the difference between winning and losing tennis matches at the highest level.
Djokovic vulnerable in tricky opener
As with earlier in the week, action gets underway at 10am UK time and there are a number of seeded players starting their tournaments today. These include Andrey Rublev and Rafa Nadal, who are sub 1.101/10 for their matches against Salvatore Caruso and Federico Delbonis, respectively. Both should get the win, although Rublev does look a touch short-priced.
Novak Djokovic also gets his campaign underway in his first competitive match since the Australian Open, and he couldn't have got much of a tougher opening match than the young Italian phenomenon, Jannik Sinner, who looks set to be rivalling the top players on tour within several years.
Since the tour resumed, Sinner has strong clay numbers - he's running at over 106% combined service/return points won - and although Djokovic is still a level higher, the world number one could potentially be rusty and will need to play well to get past Sinner's threat here today. An upset shouldn't be discounted, with Sinner 3.65 to get the win.
Schwartzman favourite for clash with Ruud
I'm also fascinated with the match between Diego Schwartzman and Casper Ruud, with the Argentine, Schwartzman, likely to be more than happy in slow clay conditions. Like Sinner though, Ruud is on a nice upward curve and the Norwegian has excellent clay numbers too for a player of his age - it looks likely to be his best surface.
A return-orientated match should be anticipated, with plenty of breaks and possible in-play swings. Schwartzman is the favourite to progress at 1.645/8, and that actually looks a little big based on my numbers.
Lucas Pouille is underdog at 2.265/4 against the aforementioned Popyrin this afternoon, and based on longer-term clay data, that looks generous. It's difficult, though, to ascertain the French wild-cards likely level after long-term injury - his record following a return to tour has been very unspectacular with just three wins before this week, two of which were as favourite in Challenger events.
Carreno-Busta can get the better of Khachanov
The schedule today is tricky to navigate from a value perspective, and therefore today's recommendation is a rather cautious one. I want to look at Pablo Carreno-Busta at 2.0621/20 for his match versus Karen Khachanov.
Twelfth seed Carreno-Busta has more clay pedigree although Khachanov did get a solid round one win, easing to victory over Cagliari champion Laslo Djere. He won last week in Marbella although that might create some fatigue concerns, hence the rather tentative recommendation.
Numbers-wise, PCB looks the play though. He's available at that slight underdog price on the Exchange at the time of writing, and my model has him at 1.768/11. Over the last couple of years on clay, the Spaniard has won a higher percentage of service and return points, and assuming he's in decent condition today looks some value to make round three tomorrow.
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