SINGAPORE - Fans of Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova were biting their nails at the draw ceremony, and their worst fears became a reality - the two highest-ranked players in the field, the World No.2 and World No.3, were drawn into the same round robin group. How do they feel about it?
"It's a tough group. I'll play Sharapova. I never beat her, but maybe I will have the chance here," Halep, who's 0-5 against the Russian, said. "I just want to play match by match, though. Everyone is playing tough here in Singapore. We are the best eight players in the world so every match is like a final.
"I have nothing to lose. I have no expectations. I just want to be happy, play my best tennis, try to win matches and fight. It's the only thing that's important in this last tournament of the season."
The 0-5 record is deceptive though - Halep did push their last three meetings to three sets.
"I think I have positive thoughts about this match here," the Romanian said. "Of course I can lose it, and I can win it. It's not very important the result. I just want to play my best against her and to do a better game than in the final of the French Open last year. I know how to play against her now.
"I hope and believe I have my chance against her. I think it's good timing to face her again."
Sharapova was also asked about the looming blockbuster during her All Access Hour interviews.
"It's a big step for me to be here and feel that I'm healthy. It will be a bigger step that I'll be able to compete in those three matches and finish them off healthy. That's my goal," Sharapova, who's played just one match since Wimbledon because of nagging leg and forearm injuries, said. "Everything else I just have to take the positives out of because I've done everything possible to being here.
"If I can stay healthy and work my way through the matches, no matter who I'm playing, in this particular situation I have to worry about myself a little bit more than who I'm playing against."
Guaranteed, though, that Halep and Sharapova aren't just looking at each other - the other two players in their group, Agnieszka Radwanska and Flavia Pennetta, have given them all kinds of trouble before.
Radwanska has split eight career meetings with Halep, 4-4, and though she's just 2-12 against Sharapova, the two wins came at huge venues - the US Open in 2007 and Miami in 2012, in the final.
And Pennetta has winning records against both of them: 4-1 against Halep, 3-2 against Sharapova.
Red Group action kicks off Sunday with Sharapova playing Radwanska and Halep playing Pennetta.