BENDIGO ATP Challenger second seed Roberto Carbelles Baena has flexed his muscles early in the tournament, quickly advancing to the round of 16.
The Spaniard sent a strong message to his rivals by disposing of Australian Jai Corbett 6-0, 6-4 in their second round match on Monday at the Bendigo Tennis Centre on Nolan Street.
Carballes Baena, ranked 80th in the world, set up an exciting encounter against 13th seeded Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera, who was equally impressive in beating Monaco's Hugo Nys 6-2, 6-2.
Barrios Vera, a Chilean Davis Cup representative, nailed an impressive 76 per cent of his first serves in overcoming Nys, and will present a tough challenge for the in-form Carbelles Baena on Wednesday.
American fourth seed Steve Johnson endured an absorbing battle against Markos Kalovelonis, from Greece, but was able to advance in three sets.
Johnson won the first set 6-3, before the 25-year-old Greek rallied to take the second set in a tie-breaker.
The Californian native was able to steady in the third to take the deciding set 6-3 and set up a clash against 26-year-old Australian Calum Puttergill.
The Johnson-Kalovelonis match lasted just a shade over two hours and produced a combined 27 aces.
South African-born Puttergill, who now calls Noosa Heads home, produced some inspired tennis to down the 15th seeded Marcelo Arevalo, from El Salvador, 6-4, 6-2.
A showdown between the tournament's 10th and 16th seeds will be a feature of Wednesday's action, after Australian Maverick Banes and Japan's Yosuke Watanuki both won their way through to the third round on Monday.
Banes (seeded 16th), who achieved a career-high ranking of 216 in August 2018, impressed with an emphatic 6-1, 6-2 victory over Naoki Tajima, while Watanuki defeated his fellow countryman Sho Shimabukuro 7-6, 6-3.
Australian Alexander Crnokrak will head into the next round full of confidence after he eliminated the tournament's ninth seed Hugo Gaston, from France, in straight sets.
Little separated the pair throughout the match with Crnokrak eventually taking the honours 6-4, 7-6, to set up a clash against the winner of Tuesday's match between eighth seeded Christopher O'Connell and Italian Liam Caruana.
In other second round matches still to be played, Hungarian number one seed Marton Fucsovics meets Italian Andrea Vavassori, Australian Dane Sweeney takes on Damir Dzumhur (seeded fifth), and third-seeded Italian Stefano Travaglia faces Australian Dayne Kelly.
Fucsovics has made his way to Australia after reaching the quarter finals of last week's Qatar Open.
Now ranked 70th in the world, the Hungarian right-hander reached a career-high of 31 in April last year, and will be fresh from a bye in the opening round of the tournament.
His opponent advanced to the round of 32 with a 6-4, 6-4 win over the Ukraine's Eric Vanshelboim on Sunday.
Meanwhile, a total of $99,700 was raised for Australian Red Cross bushfire disaster relief at last week's Canberra International in Bendigo.
The Aces for Bushfire Relief campaign saw $150 donated for every ace served during the tournament.
Men's finalist, Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori, topped all players with 50 aces, ahead of Tasmanian Harry Bourchier (36) and American Denis Kudla (35).
German Philipp Kohlschreiber, who won the men's title, was next on the list with 33 aces.
The tournament was moved to Bendigo due to the hazardous air quality and smoke haze engulfing Canberra due to bushfires.
Tournament director and Tennis ACT chief executive officer Kim Kachel said it had been a collective effort to relocate the event and was incredibly thankful to all those involved.