Ready? Set? Go! The WTA Finals kicks off on Sunday, as World No.1 Angelique Kerber leads a distinguished quartet into battle at Singapore Indoor Stadium. We preview the action right here!
WTA Staff

SINGAPORE - Ready? Set? Go! The BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global will kick off on Sunday, as World No.1 Angelique Kerber leads a distinguished quartet into battle at Singapore Indoor Stadium. Chris Oddo previews the action right here at wtatennis.com.

Sunday, Red Group

Round Robin

[3] Simona Halep (ROU #4) vs. [6] Madison Keys (USA #7)
Head-to-head:
Halep leads, 4-1
Key Stat: Halep holds a 10-7 record against the rest of the Red Group, and is the only player in the group with a winning record against the other three group members.

Simona Halep and Madison Keys have both turned in incredibly impressive seasons in 2016. Halep, making her third WTA Finals appearance, claimed three titles and five Top 10 wins over the course of the year. Keys, the youngest person in the Singapore draw and one of three WTA Finals debutantes, won her second career title and went 17-6 in three-set matches. But there is one caveat: While each was consistent at the majors, neither player was able to break through to the last four of a major. For both Keys and Halep, Singapore provides a golden opportunity to make a strong statement against the world's best at an elite event. Halep has done it before. The Romanian owns a 4-4 career record at Singapore and was a runner-up in her WTA Finals debut in 2014. Can she use that experience, and her dominance over Keys in 2016, to get the ball rolling on Sunday?

"I always enjoy playing here," Halep told reporters at All-Access Hour on Saturday in Singapore. "I have great memories from 2014. I hope to repeat that."

For Keys, the challenge will be believing that she can beat Halep. The Romanian has taken four straight from Keys, including three in 2016, and each one was a little more one-sided than the previous. How can Keys buck the trend and start off the week with a shocker?

"I'm looking forward to it," she said on Saturday. "Just playing her in Wuhan, I think she played really well there, but I think a big part was that I got really passive and I got behind the baseline and let her start dictating. That's going to be something I'm going to have to step up and go for my shots in the smartest way I can, really just believe that I can do it."

Pick: Halep in three

[1] Angelique Kerber (GER #1) vs. [7] Dominika Cibulkova (SVK #8)
Head-to-head: Tied, 4-4
Key Stat: Kerber has gone 2-7 in her three previous WTA Finals appearances.

Angelique Kerber has wrapped up the WTA's year-end World No.1 ranking and Player of the Year award already, so what else does the German have to prove here in Singapore? For one, she'd like to make a strong statement to the rest of the elite field, all of whom are undoubtedly hungry to knock the German off her high horse and earn themselves a coveted win over a World No.1. Kerber, who has failed to reach the semifinals in each of her three previous WTA Finals appearances, will begin her round-robin cycle against the surging Dominika Cibulkova. The German has won the last eight sets the pair have contested, but they have not met in over a year. Cibulkova has won 50 matches this season and her six WTA finals are eclipsed only by Kerber's seven. But how will the Slovakian make inroads against Kerber's jaw-dropping defense and counterpunching prowess? Let's not forget that there was a time that Cibulkova owned a 4-0 lifetime edge over Kerber. It might also be wise to note that the Slovakian has done nothing but rise to the occasion in 2016. She owns 18 three-set wins and has gone 5-3 against the Top 10. Kerber will most certainly be the favorite in Sunday's second round robin affair, but Cibulkova's energy and willingness to battle to the bitter end of every match make it impossible to count her out.

Pick: Kerber in three

By the Numbers:
8 - For the fourth time in the last five years, eight countries are represented in the singles field at the WTA Finals (CZE, GER, ROU, POL, USA, ESP, SVK, RUS).
59 - Kerber leads all contestants with 59 match wins on the season.
8 - Number of players that have advanced to the final on their WTA Finals debut. Only Serena Williams (2001), Maria Sharapova (2004) and Petra Kvitova (2011) have won the title on their debut.
41 - Kerber and Radwanska are tied for the WTA lead with 41 hardcourt wins apiece.

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