From a Grand Slam winner to the defending champion, thankfully day three of the men's ASB Classic will provide much more notable entertainment.

Tuesday was, well, ho-hum to put it mildly. Four players pulled out, and a stunning summer day beamed down to reveal the lack of centre court pulling power.

Similar balmy conditions should at least be complemented by compelling competition today. Not before time, either, after the women's washouts put a major dampener on last week.

As far as drawcards go, they don't get much better at this mid-stage of the tournament than Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 US Open champ, against Denis Shapovalov.


At 18, this budding Canadian star has already banked $834,886 (US) $1.16 million (NZD). Last year, he knocked over del Potro and Rafael Nadal to reach the final of the Canadian Open and followed that up by winning six matches at the US Open to now sit inside the world's top 50. Not bad for a teenager.

Read more: Michael Venus wins ASB Classic doubles match

The wait for this night session match should be worth it. And, to follow, by the time big John Isner, while slightly one-dimensional, winds up against Korea's Hyeon Chung, last eight match-ups will begin to take shape.

On paper at least, defending champion and world No 8 Jack Sock appears to have an easy side of the draw and straightforward opener against German Peter Gojowczyk, who survived dropping the first set to American qualifier Tim Smyczek before emerging 6-3 4-6 6-3.

Win his first match, and Sock will meet the winner of lucky loser Lukas Lacko and Dutch veteran Robin Haase.

Expect long rallies when four-time Classic champion David Ferrer opens his account, in possibly his last appearance here, against Portugal's Joao Sousa. And when third seeded American Sam Querrey, pushed to the back courts such is the packed schedule, and Jiri Vesely collide, a battle of big serves will ensue.

Auckland regular Steve Johnson did enough to push past Italian 19-year-old Liam Caruana, ranked a lowly 397, in one hour 44 minutes yesterday.

Read more: Second round takes shape at ASB Classic

But the American needs to produce more than the inconsistent efforts in his 7-5 7-6 (4) victory if he is to take down fifth seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the opening match of the day, with the Spaniard fresh off dispatching Kiwi Michael Venus 6-2 6-1 on opening night.

Bautista Agut won all four previous encounters with Johnson, the last of which three years ago. Two of those matches went three sets.

"I've played him a few times and he's got the best of me every time," Johnson said. "I'm going to go out there and try something different; do what we've been working on and hopefully change the outcome.

"A lot has changed since then so it's a good measure of how both of our games are and where we are to start the year. Hopefully I can build on today and keep getting better."

After a straight sets victory, Uruguay's six seed Pablo Cuevas, one beneficiary of the late withdrawals, should be well rested for his clash against Russia's Karen Khachanov.

Likewise Lukas Lacko made the most of his call up to progress past Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3 6-7 (5) 6-3 to meet Robin Haase, who shook off an 0-6 first set to beat qualifier Casper Ruud in three sets.

Finally, a day at the tennis to savour.

Order of play:
Centre court:
Steve Johnson (USA) vs Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) [5]
Jack Sock (USA) [1] vs Peter Gojowczyk (GER)
David Ferrer (ESP) [7] vs Joao Sousa (POR)

Not before 7pm
Denis Shapovalov (CAN) vs Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) [2]
Hyeon Chung (KOR) vs John Isner (USA) [4]

Oliver Marach (AUT)/Mate Pavic (CRO) [1] vs Gullermo Duran (ARG)/Andres Molteni (ARG)
Sam Querrey (USA) [3] vs Jiri Vesely (CZE)
Pablo Cuevas (URU) [6] vs Karen Khachanov (RUS)

Not before 4.30pm
Max Mirnyi (BLR)/Philipp Oswald (AUT) vs Marcus Daniell (NZL)/Dominic Inglot (GBR)