Alcaraz looking short-priced to win the title
Medvedev can continue strong form
Fritz the pick of the rest of the market
Alcaraz the market leader in Shanghai
With the exception of Novak Djokovic, big names are in attendance in Shanghai ahead of a hard court Masters which has an outright market led by three players - Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev and Jannik Sinner. Unusually for the event, it starts on a Wednesday.
The Exchange market is a little illiquid at this time, but it looks like Alcaraz will start the tournament as favourite priced at around the 2.9015/8 mark, with Medvedev, at around 5.004/1 and Sinner 8.07/1 the other leading contenders. Every other player is likely to be priced up at 20.019/1 or bigger, including the likes of Andrey Rublev, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Taylor Fritz.
As the top two seeds, Alcaraz and Medvedev top and tail the draw, so cannot meet until the final, while looking at the seeds at the bottom of the top half and top of the bottom half, Rublev has been drawn in Alcaraz's quarter and Casper Ruud in the bottom half of the draw with Medvedev.
Hard court data similar for Alcaraz and Medvedev
Of the other contenders, both Fritz and Tsitsipas find themselves in Alcaraz's bracket, while Sinner has been drawn alongside with the likes of Casper Ruud and Holger Rune who have shown little of late. However, the Italian will need to advance past Alexander Zverev in the last 16 if he is to have a chance of a quarter-final clash with Medvedev.
Interestingly, both Alcaraz and Medvedev have similar hard court data this year. Considering service points won percentages, Alcaraz has around a 1% edge, but Medvedev can combat that with return points won numbers. However, it will be interesting to see how Medvedev can back up his final appearance in Beijing with a long week in Shanghai, but if he can, looks better value at not far off double the price than Alcaraz who he defeated at the US Open recently.
Following that loss in the semi-finals in New York, Alcaraz was defeated by Sinner in Beijing, so isn't coming into the event in imperious form. We have to go back five events to Wimbledon for the Spaniard's last title. Throw in the traditionally quick conditions in Shanghai, and there's another leveller between Alcaraz and Medvedev.
Fritz with potential to make the latter stages
If Alcaraz doesn't win the title, and nor does Medvedev, who can do so? I'd lean towards Alcaraz's half of the draw to find someone, with Taylor Fritz (likely to start at around 30.029/1), or even potentially countryman Tommy Paul capable of stringing some wins together out of players a little bigger-priced.
Fritz (106% combined service/return points won on hard court this year) has markedly better data than Paul, and also compared to Stefanos Tsitsipas, who has lost four of his last six matches, all as a strong favourite. After a poor season by his standards, Tsitsipas will need a dramatic turnaround in his fortunes if he is to make the latter stages.