There are eleven matches on day two of the Monte Carlo Masters, as the tournament begins in earnest. Our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, is back to preview today's schedule...
"In this battle of two of the bigger young prospects on the ATP Tour, Tsitsipas has an excellent record on the dirt, winning 34 of his last 50 matches, and eight of his last ten, winning his last clay event at the Genova Challenger in September last year, and his record on clay in Challengers as he was coming through the rankings was pretty strong."
Khachanov among the victors on day one yesterday
The Monte Carlo Masters had a low-profile beginning yesterday, with three matches taking place on day one. Victories ensued for Karen Khachanov, over the strangely awarded wild-card Thanasi Kokkinakis (who has done very little on clay throughout his career), as well as Mischa Zverev and Daniil Medvedev - another player who has plenty to prove on the dirt in the coming season.
Matches get started at 10:00 UK time today, with match timings much friendlier for European daytime bettors and traders following the US Masters series in March, and while there are several matches worth considering today from a value perspective, it's always worth pointing out that caution is recommended for pre-match betting in the first round, where player condition is frequently questionable.
Ramos defending ranking points in Donaldson clash
In the early matches, Albert Ramos should not be short of motivation, given that he's defending runner-up points from last season, and a defeat today against Jared Donaldson will drop him to just inside the top 50 of the rankings, from a current 24, and would also have the probable implication that he'd be unseeded at the French Open. The Spaniard looks correctly priced at [1.39] to progress in what should be conditions to his liking.
Haase tempting as an underdog against Rublev
Robin Haase disappointed us from an outright perspective last week in Marrakech, succumbing to Mirza Basic despite leading twice by a break in the final set, and he faces the Russian youngster, Andrey Rublev. Haase does have the better clay data - it's not uncommon for Rublev to be a little over-rated - and looks tempting as an underdog, at [2.08] on the Exchange.
Nishikori value in former top-10 match-up against Berdych
Arguably the match of the day sees Kei Nishikori face Tomas Berdych with both former top 10 stalwarts having seen better days in their career. The younger Nishikori has more chance of recapturing former glories, and he has a pretty decent record on clay throughout his career. Certainly, clay data from last season favours the Japanese player here, and he looks a false underdog at [2.18] currently - my model virtually reversed the prices.
Tsitsipas with much more clay experience than Shapovalov
However, today's bet that I do like sees Stefanos Tsitsipas face Denis Shapovalov. After a bit of a gamble overnight, the Greek talent is [1.78] to see off Shapovalov, and my model, which priced Tsitsipas at [1.62], still makes this value.
In this battle of two of the bigger young prospects on the ATP Tour, Tsitsipas has an excellent record on the dirt, winning 34 of his last 50 matches, and eight of his last ten, winning his last clay event at the Genova Challenger in September last year, and his record on clay in Challengers as he was coming through the rankings was pretty strong.
Conversely, opponent Shapovalov hasn't had much exposure on clay, being 2-7 in his career on the surface, and given his relative serve-orientated game style, is unlikely to enjoy playing in what are anticipated to be very slow conditions, so Tsitsipas at [1.78] looks worthy of being today's recommendation.
Djokovic with much to prove ahead of Lajovic clash
In other action, there's unsurprisingly been some interest in Aljaz Bedene overnight for his match against Mirza Basic - Bedene has excellent clay data over the last 12 months - while a watching brief is advised for Novak Djokovic's match against Dusan Lajovic. The former world number one is [1.36] to get past his countryman today, which looks a little generous even considering his fitness and form concerns.
Injury can only stop Raonic defeating wild-card Catarina
Another player with fitness doubts in recent months is Milos Raonic, but it would be a monumental shock if he was to be beaten without an injury against the local wild-card Lucas Catarina. The 21 year old from Monaco doesn't even boast a level which would make him well-equipped for Challengers, making his wild-card appear extremely generous indeed. Certainly, it's difficult not to think that there were many other players who would have been a better option to donate a wild-card to this week, not to mention the €17,350 prize money for just turning up.
Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings
Back Stefanos Tsitsipas at [1.78] to beat Denis Shapovalov