MIAMI, FL, USA -- A rematch of the scintillating BNP Paribas Open final could be in the offing early at the 2019 Miami Open, as the star-studded draw, which was revealed on Sunday, finds Bianca Andreescu and Angelique Kerber in the same section of the Premier Mandatory event.
No.8 seed Kerber and Andreescu could meet up in the third round as the Miami Open starts its first year at its new venue, the Hard Rock Stadium. 18-year-old Andreescu claimed her first WTA singles title when she defeated reigning Wimbledon champion Kerber in the Indian Wells final on Sunday in three sets.
Andreescu, still unseeded, has some hurdles before getting to that match. She will face Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu in the first round, and they went three sets in the first round at Indian Wells. If Andreescu can get through that match, she will face No.32 seed Sofia Kenin of the United States -- the most recent player to beat Andreescu, which occurred in the semifinals of Acapulco a few weeks ago.
Andreescu, Kerber, and Kenin, along with No.9 seed Aryna Sabalenka, find themselves in the top quarter of the draw, where the winner from their section could face World No.1 Naomi Osaka, who sits at the top of the bracket, in the quarterfinals.
Osaka was unable to defend her 2018 BNP Paribas Open title last week, falling to Belinda Bencic in the fourth round at Indian Wells. A battle between the two most recent Australian Open champions could take place in the fourth round, as the current titleholder Osaka is projected to face last year's Melbourne champion, No.13 seed Caroline Wozniacki, at that stage.
No.3 seed Petra Kvitova, who lost to Osaka in this year's Australian Open final, leads her quarter, also in the top half of the draw. No.7 seed Kiki Bertens and No.12 seed Ashleigh Barty are in the Kvitova quarter too, as well as three-time Miami Open champion Victoria Azarenka.
Azarenka's most recent WTA singles title came at Miami in 2016, when she completed the Indian Wells/Miami "Sunshine Double." She will face former World No.4 Dominika Cibulkova in a marquee first-round match between unseeded players.
In the bottom half of the draw, No.2 seed Simona Halep of Romania will try to rebound from a fourth-round loss to Czech teen Marketa Vondrousova at Indian Wells. Three-time Miami Open champion Venus Williams, who made the quarterfinals at Indian Wells, is in Halep's section as well.
The victor from that section could face No.10 seed Serena Williams, who has won an astounding eight titles in Miami, in the quarterfinals. Before that point, Serena Williams could potentially face No.6 seed Elina Svitolina, a 2019 Indian Wells semifinalist, or 2019 Australian Open semifinalist Danielle Collins, the No.25 seed, in the round of 16.
Finally, reigning Miami Open champion and No.4-seeded American Sloane Stephens leads her quarter, also in the bottom half, as she attempts to defend her most recent title. Stephens is just 5-5 on the season thus far, but will attempt to turn that record around in a second-round match against either Ons Jabeur of Tunisia or Belgium's Alison van Uytvanck.
Stephens' vanquished finalist from last year, No.22 seed Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, is also in the same section, and No.5 seed Karolina Pliskova sits at the other end of her quarter. Pliskova, however, has No.23 seed Belinda Bencic in her portion of the draw. Bencic has beaten six Top 10 players over the last month -- including Pliskova at Indian Wells.