WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen | An uncertain White Group could create wildly different scenarios for defending champ Agnieszka Radwanska; this and four more draw takeaways.
WTA Staff

SINGAPORE - The Red and White Groups are set at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, after the draw ceremony was completed on the glamorous stage of the Marina Bay Sands. Top seed and World No.1 Angelique Kerber leads the Red Group, while No.2 seed and defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska leads the White Group.

Here's how the groups broke out after all the chips were pulled:

Red Group
Angelique Kerber
Simona Halep
Madison Keys
Dominika Cibulkova

White Group
Agnieszka Radwanska
Karolina Pliskova
Garbiñe Muguruza
Johanna Konta OR Svetlana Kuznetsova (pending Kremlin Cup result)

Can Kerber find her form and survive the group stage for the first time?

From the Wimbledon final to an Olympic silver medal to her second major title of the season in New York, Kerber tallied her most consistent stretch of results en route to overtaking the No.1 ranking. But aside from a fantastic effort against Petra Kvitova that ended in a loss at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, Kerber has not been the same player she was before the calendar turned to October. There were some injury concerns at the China Open, but she was able to play the following week in Hong Kong, where she lost to Daria Gavrilova.

Kerber is playing in her third WTA Finals and has never qualified out of the group stage to the semifinals. This year offers a great chance, but she's been drawn a very tough group, with three players who are all in form at the moment, with Halep having the best China swing of her career, Keys making the semifinals in Beijing, and Cibulkova winning Linz to secure her qualification spot.

Can Radwanska diffuse the heavy firepower waiting in the White Group?

The defending champion comes into Singapore on a roll. Once again, she's found her form in Asia, having won one of the biggest titles of her career at the China Open two weeks ago. She's also well-rested, something that was not true last year when she needed to win the Tianjin Open to qualify. She'll need both her form and fitness to get a group which will see her have to fend off the heavy-hitting of Pliskova and Muguruza, assuming both women can find a good level.

Radwanska is 6-0 against Pliskova and 3-4 against Muguruza, splitting their six hardcourt matches. The Pole's run to the title last year surprised many. Given her form this fall and the draw, a return to the final would not be a surprise this year. She has played impenetrable tennis over the last few weeks, so much so that Johanna Konta, who has been drawn into the Red Group pending her qualification status, described the Pole's game as "a wall" after losing the China Open final.

Can Halep repeat her hardcourt dominance over Kerber?

The 2014 finalist was drawn into the Red Group, meaning we'll get another edition of this growing rivalry. Halep leads the head-to-head 4-3, with all four wins coming on hard courts. In fact, Kerber got her first hardcourt win over the Romanian just this summer in the Cincinnati semifinals, after having been 0-3 on the surface. Based on the historical head-to-heads of the women in this group, one would expect the winner of this match to take control of the Red Group.

Though Halep has won four of five matches against Kerber on hard court, the conditions at the Singapore Indoor Stadium are significantly different from a typical hard court. The surface plays slow - defending champion Radwanska called it "sticky" - and the balls have been described as "heavy." It can be a difficult court to hit through, which means players without huge power are going to have rely heavily on their legs and fitness to grind through matches. This is a match that can have lasting effects in the tournament if it goes a tough three sets.

Can Keys turn the tables on Simona Halep and Angelique Kerber?

To get out of the Red Group, the 21-year-old will have to battle past two counter-punching opponents who have had her number. Keys is 1-5 against Kerber and has never won a set off the German on hard courts, losing all eight sets contested. The two have played twice this year and Kerber winning, 6-3, 6-2 in the quartefinals of the Miami Open and 6-3, 7-5 in the semifinals of the Olympics. Similarly, Keys is 1-4 against Halep, losing their last four matches. Three of those matches came this season, with Halep getting the better of Keys in the Wimbledon quarterfinals, the Rogers Cup final, and the Wuhan Open quarterfinals.

Singapore offers a great opportunity for Keys to get the wins over Kerber and Halep that could reset these match-ups in 2017. Big hitters have fared well on the slow surface, with Serena Williams winning the title in 2014 and Petra Kvitova, Maria Sharapova, and Muguruza advancing to the semifinals last year. Keys should have plenty of time to load and set up her forehand, and the gritty surface should play into her fantastic kick-serve.

Will Kuznetsova derail Radwanska's chance at a title defense?

The final qualifying spot has come down to either Konta or Kuznetsova, with the Russian's only chance coming with the Moscow title this week. How the White Group plays out depends greatly on which of these two women grabs that eighth spot. Radwanska's record against a White Group that includes Konta is 11-4.

Her record if it includes Kuznetsova? 13-16, due to her 4-12 record against the two-time major champion. Further to that point, Radwanska has played both Konta and Kuznetsova over the last four weeks, beating Konta in Beijing and losing to Kuznetsova in three sets (after holding match point) in Wuhan.