Sinner defeats Medvedev in Beijing
Schwartzman's struggles could continue
Fils favoured to get past Kotov
Murray and Wawrinka exit on opening day
Already exiting in Shanghai were the two former Grand Slam winners Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka, who both failed to win a set in disappointing losses for the duo.
Round one continues on Thursday with the winner of Beijing finally known as Jannik Sinner defeated Daniil Medvedev in two tiebreaks. With bottom of the draw action in round two taking place on Friday, both will likely have a quick turnaround ahead of their opening matches.
Prior to that, though, there are 16 first round matches from the top half of the draw to play. Already we are seeing evidence of quick conditions in Shanghai with eight of the 35 completed sets played on Wednesday ending in tiebreaks (22.9%) which is around four percentage points ahead of the ATP Tour hard court mean this year of 18.8%.
There could be potential to use this information as the tournament progresses, when two big servers meet each other.
Schwartzman failing to inspire confidence
That dynamic is not really the case in most matches on Thursday, though, and one player who certainly doesn't fall into the big-server bracket is Diego Schwartzman. After a dreadful year so far, Schwartzman's ranking has dropped outside the top 100 and the Argentine needed a wild card to get into the main draw here.
Schwartzman faces the French teenager Luca Van Assche on Thursday, who is 12 years his junior, and the market is finding it tough to split the duo with Schwartzman trading at 1.9720/21 at the time of writing.
He's running at a very poor 94% combined serve/return points won percentage on hard court this year, and his performances on his preferred clay court inspire little in the way of confidence either.
Further, Schwartzman has lost his last four matches and retired several weeks ago in Zhuhai, so his preparation for this has been far from ideal. In fairness, neither has Van Assche who last featured in a clay Challenger event a week or so ago, reaching the semi-final. I'd like to side with the younger player here, who has far more upside right now, but he hasn't done enough on hard court yet at the highest level to generate faith.
Kotov unlikely to enjoy conditions in Shanghai
Similarly aged to Van Assche is Arthur Fils, with the 19-year-old Frenchman making an impression already having broken into the top 50 recently. On Thursday, Fils faces Pavel Kotov, who stemmed a run of four consecutive losses with some low-level victories in Chengdu qualifying.
Kotov has done his best work on clay this year, mostly focusing on that surface, and his return-oriented dynamic is unlikely to be suited to the quick hard court conditions which should be on display. Fils should have too much for him and looks a value favourite at 1.635/8.
Halys facing tough Karatsev test
Finally, it will be interesting to see how Fils' countryman Quentin Halys fares here, having lost five in a row since Wimbledon, being a strong pre-match favourite in all of the last four. Halys faces Aslan Karatsev, whose consistency is far from guaranteed but did pick up some good wins in Zhuhai, taking the British double over Andy Murray and Cam Norrie.
Surely it is only the anticipated quick conditions which is influencing the market on Halys' chances here. He's 2.466/4 to get past Karatsev, and he'll need to serve well to do so, taking the odd chance which comes his way. I wouldn't be shocked at all if this match featured tiebreaks.