When the best of the year clash, predictions go for a toss. And that is exactly what we witnessed on Day 1 of the WTA Finals at Singapore as both the so-called underdogs won their matches. Elina Svitolina had an embarrassing 1-7 record against former WTA Finals champion Petra Kvitova, but she did not let it come in the way as she pummelled the heavily-favoured Czech 6-3, 6-3.
In the following match, Karolina Pliskova avenged her 2017 semi-final defeat to Carolina Wozniacki on her way to a 6-2, 6-4 win over the defending champion.
After those unexpected results in the White Group, we are all set to see action from the Red Group for the first time.
Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber is the most experienced campaigner out of the four in that group. She also made it to the 2016 final, losing to Dominika Cibulkova.
She should be the one favoured to go through to the semi-finals from this group. However, the German southpaw's results haven't been noteworthy of late. After her Wimbledon hurrah, she hasn't been able to find that same motivation and energy levels at any other tournament and her fall results certainly do not raise much hope.
All Kerber needs is a big win to get back on track. Being 2-1 against Kiki Bertens might just help her to a certain extent as she begins her challenge on Day 2.
But before Kerber and Bertens step on the court, there is an absolutely cracking clash between the last two US Open champions -- Naomi Osaka and Sloane Stephens -- each of whom is a WTA Finals debutante. All eyes will be on that match as that promises some thrilling action, and some speedy and powerful groundstrokes.
It is the 25-year-old Stephens who won the sole meeting between the two at the Acapulco WTA event more than two years ago. Since then, a lot has happened. Both have gone on to win Grand Slams as well as Premier Mandatory titles.
While Stephens can blow hot and cold, the 21-year-old Osaka has been steadily building up form and confidence for the past few weeks. She carried her US Open-winning momentum into the Asian swing and made it to the final in Tokyo and the semi-finals in Beijing.
Osaka, who has already established herself as an exciting prospect, will hope to keep that run going when she takes on the American in Singapore on Monday.
Here is the schedule for October 22, 2018:
Naomi Osaka vs Sloane Stephens at 7.30 pm local time or 5 pm IST
Angelique Kerber vs Kiki Bertens
Here is all you need to know about how to follow the WTA Finals 2018:
Tournament name: BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore
Category: Year-ending championships
Date: Monday, October 22, 2018
Round: Round robin
Broadcast: No live telecast in India
Live score: wtafinals.com
You can follow all the coverage of the WTA Finals 2018 here on SportskeedaPublished 22 Oct 2018, 14:37 IST