The first Premier-level event of the grass court season is here - and the main draw of the Nature Valley Classic does not disappoint.
WTA Staff
June 15, 2019

BIRMINGHAM, Great Britain - The draw for one of the most prestigious tune-up events to Wimbledon does not disappoint.

For the first time in the history of the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham, the top three players in the WTA rankings are all present at the Premier-level event. 

World No.1 Naomi Osaka, World No.2 and French Open champion Ashleigh Barty and World No.3 Karolina Pliskova - who took a wildcard and was on hand for Saturday's draw ceremony - lead the way in a stacked field that sees five of the world's Top 10 present.

Read more: Osaka, Barty, Pliskova top historic Birmingham field with No.1 ranking in play

Also including Elina Svitolina and Aryna Sabalenka, and seven-time Grand Slam singles champion Venus Williams a recipient of a wildcard, the full draw was released on Saturday with several standout matches as early as the first round. 

The five-time Wimbledon champion has not played a grass court event outside of the All-England Club in seven years, accounting for the London Olympics in 2012, and will be contesting her first Wimbledon warmup event since playing in Eastbourne in 2011.

Karolina Pliskova, Birmingham draw 2019 (©Jimmie48/WTA)
Former finalist Pliskova takes a selfie with local children at the draw ceremony. (©Jimmie48/WTA)

World No.1 Osaka will face Greece's Maria Sakkari in an intriguing matchup which saw them split two meetings last season, while Barty plays her first match as a Grand Slam singles champion against looming grass court threat Donna Vekic, who is into the Nature Valley Open final in Nottingham this week.

Williams will face Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the first round, and could face No.6 seed Wang Qiang in the second round in the same quarter of the draw as Barty.

Home favorite Johanna Konta, the No.7 seed, faces a tough first-round test in former Libéma Open champion Anett Kontaveit, while No.8 seed Julia Goerges takes on the looming Ukrainian teenager Dayana Yastremska.

Other standout opening matches include an exciting contrast of styles as No.5 seed Sabalenka takes on Hsieh Su-wei, while Pliskova faces 2018 semifinalist Mihaela Buzarnescu.

Click here to view the full Nature Valley Classic draw.