Alcaraz a virtual bye over Marozsan
Rublev with potential as a value favourite
Cecchinato could pick up another underdog win
Djokovic and Ruud tested more than anticipated in wins
Yesterday's bumper schedule didn't yield any huge shocks, with the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas, Jannik Sinner and Cameron Norrie advancing. However, both Casper Ruud and Novak Djokovic were troubled more than anticipated in their wins, with Ruud needing a final set tiebreak against Alexander Bublik, while Djokovic dropped set two against Grigor Dimitrov.
This meant that Carlos Alcaraz 2.166/5 actually shortened a little in the outright market despite not even walking on court, but the Spaniard is in action today, against the Hungarian, Fabian Marozsan.
Alcaraz in line for routine win
The market considers this to be a foregone conclusion. Alcaraz's price of 1.021/50 suggests this to be a virtual bye for the tournament favourite, against an opponent who has done well to get to this stage but has needed deciding sets in both main draw matches plus his opening round in qualifiers too.
Marozsan came into the tournament having lost five of his last six, and that doesn't bode particularly well against Alcaraz, who should pick up a very routine win here.
It will be hoped that some of the other seven matches on the schedule are going to be more competitive, and while all of Alexander Zverev, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas are all priced around the 1.251/4 mark for their matches, a few of the lower-profile matches look to be more evenly-matched.
Rublev showing an excellent clay level this year
Andrey Rublev has had a decent clay court season so far, winning in Monte Carlo before a surprise loss to Dusan Lajovic in the Banja Luka final, but his numbers on the surface in 2023 are exceptional.
Running at almost 109% combined service/return points won on clay this year, it's clear Rublev is playing very well indeed, and these numbers far eclipse those of opponent, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
Despite this, the market thinks that Davidovich Fokina has a greater chance as an underdog than my numbers do, and while he's picked up a few decent wins of late (Rune in Madrid in particular) it's worth noting that his level has been inconsistent, also struggling to win consecutive matches and it's been two months since he won three matches in a row. Rublev for me here at 1.564/7.
Cecchinato with potential for another underdog victory
In other matches, it would be very much like Marco Cecchinato to continue his tournament here and play superbly against the in-form qualifier, Yannick Hanfmann, who has already got the better of Taylor Fritz here.
While Cecchinato's record over the last couple of years is inconsistent at best, he will benefit from home support here and is on a run of eight wins in his last 10, with five as underdog. A sixth, priced up at 2.285/4, is very possible.
Carballes Baena another intriguing underdog option
I'm also intrigued to see how Borna Coric fares against Roberto Carballes Baena. Coric did superbly in Madrid, reaching the semi-final, but just about scraped past Thiago Monteiro here, and faces the Spanish clay-courter, Roberto Carballes Baena.
Coric is the 1.558/15 favourite, but conditions are likely to favour the Spaniard more, who has picked up a fair few wins himself over the last month or so, including a title in Marrakech. Coric has the higher ceiling, but don't be surprised if Carballes Baena grinds him down and takes the win today.