WTA Insider previews the deep draw at the Brisbane International, the first Premier tournament of the 2019 WTA season.
WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen
December 29, 2018

BRISBANE, Australia - The first Premier draw of the 2019 season is out at the Brisbane International, where seven of the Top 10 are in the draw. Led by defending champion and top seed Elina Svitolina and US Open champion Naomi Osaka, the tour's best will have to hit the ground running early.

See the full draw here

Here's how the Brisbane draw stacks up:

Tournament snapshot:

Top eight seeds: No.1 Elina Svitolina, No.2 Naomi Osaka, No.3 Sloane Stephens, No.4 Petra Kvitova, No.5 Karolina Pliskova, No.6 Kiki Bertens, No.7 Daria Kasatkina, No.8 Anastasija Sevastova.

Top half: Svitolina, Stephens, Bertens, Pliskova.
Bottom half: Osaka, Kvitova, Kasatkina, Sevastova

Potential quarterfinals: Svitolina-Bertens, Stephens-Pliskova, Kvitova-Kasatkina, Osaka-Sevastova.

Last year's final: Elina Svitolina d. Aliaksandra Sasnovich, 6-2, 6-1.

Singapore Redux

The projected quarterfinals in the top half of the draw could be a rematch of the two dramatic semifinals from last fall's BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, as well as a rematch of last year's Brisbane final. Svitolina has a bye in the first round and could face Sasnovich in the second round if the Belarusian gets past her opener against a qualifier. Svitolina could eventually face Bertens in the quarterfinals, having beaten the Dutchwoman 7-5, 6-7, 6-4 in the semifinals in Singapore. 

Stephens could see a rematch against Pliskova in the quarterfinals. Their Singapore semifinal was a wild one, in which Pliskova won the first eight games only to see the American battle back to a 0-6, 6-4, 6-1 win. But the top-ranked American will have to hit the ground running in Brisbane, as she's been drawn to face Johanna Konta in the first round. 

More Singapore Sympatico: Svitolina and Stephens could clash in the semifinals, a rematch of their Singapore final which Svitolina won 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. 

The top half is loaded

In addition to all four Singapore semifinalists, the top half of the draw also features Elise Mertens, who opens against her good friend Bertens in the first round, Fed Cup hero Katerina Siniakova against the rapidly improved Ajla Tomljanovic, and Donna Vekic, whose quietly outstanding 2018 season should set her up for a great 2019.

Osaka could open against Kristina Mladenovic

The last (and only) time Naomi Osaka began her season in Brisbane was in 2016. Ranked No.144, Osaka lost in the final round of qualifying to Kataryna Bondarenko. Flash forward three years and she is now a reigning major champion and the No.2 seed with a bye. 

Osaka will open up her 2019 season against either Kristina Mladenovic or a qualifier. The first seed she could face is No.11 Sevastova. Manage that and her potential seeded quarterfinal opponents are either Kvitova or Kasatkina.

Notable first round matches: Elise Mertens vs. Kiki Bertens, Sloane Stephens vs. Johanna Konta, Katerina Siniakova vs. Ajla Tomljanovic, Yulia Putintseva vs. Karolina Pliskova, Mihaela Buzarnescu vs. Lesia Tsurenko, Anett Kontaveit vs. Carla Suárez Navarro, Danielle Collins vs. Petra Kvitova, Anastasija Sevastova vs. Daria Gavrilova. 

Main draw play begins on Monday, December 31st.