(Reuters) – World number one Ash Barty and Japan’s Naomi Osaka were drawn in the same group for the round robin matches of the WTA Finals to be held in Shenzhen, China next week, with the year’s four Grand Slam champions split evenly between the two groups.
French Open champion Barty and Australian Open winner Osaka were joined by the Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova and Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic in the Red Group.
“I’ve played Naomi and Petra recently in Beijing,” Barty said. “(I’m) looking forward to playing Belinda, I don’t think I’ve actually ever played her before. It’s a really exciting group.”
Wimbledon winner Simona Halep and U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu were drawn in the Purple Group with Czech Karolina Pliskova and Ukrainian Elina Svitolina.
“I played Svitolina and Pliskova once this year, so I kind of know what to expect,” Andreescu said.
“Simona, I’ve never played her, but I’ve looked up to her. It’ll be a really interesting match up, so I’m excited.”
The tournament, which runs from Oct. 27 to Nov. 3, is being held in Shenzhen for the first time and a total of $14 million in prize money is up for grabs.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)