An­dreescu, Halep to clash for first time at WTA Fi­nals

Cana­dian ‘ex­cited’ for matchup with fifth-ranked Ro­ma­nian, who the teen says she has ‘looked up to’ dur­ing her fast-ris­ing ca­reer

The Peterborough Examiner - - SPORTS -

SHEN­ZHEN, CHINA — Bianca An­dreescu will play her first ca­reer match against Si­mona Halep at the WTA Fi­nals — a con­test that should make head­lines in Canada and Ro­ma­nia.

The draw for the US$14-mil­lion event, held on Fri­day, puts Canada’s An­dreescu in the Pur­ple Group with Ro­ma­nia’s Halep, Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Re­pub­lic and 2018 WTA Fi­nals champ Elina Svi­tolina of Ukraine.

An­dreescu’s fam­ily is from Ro­ma­nia and the 19-year-old from Mis­sis­sauga, spent some of her child­hood in that coun­try.

“Si­mona, I’ve never played her, but I’ve looked up to her,” An­dreescu said.

“It’ll be a re­ally in­ter­est­ing matchup, so I’m ex­cited.”

An­dreescu is the fourth seed at the eight-player event, while Halep is No. 5.

The two play­ers are also the win­ners of the two most re­cent Grand Slams, with Halep tak­ing the Wim­ble­don ti­tle back in July and An­dreescu beat­ing Ser­ena Wil­liams in the U.S. Open fi­nal in Septem­ber.

The sec­ond-seeded Pliskova of the Czech Re­pub­lic is the top-ranked player in the Pur­ple Group.

An­dreescu won her only match against Pliskova, beat­ing her in a quar­ter­fi­nal at the Rogers Cup in Toronto in Au­gust en route to the ti­tle.

An­dreescu also is 1-0 against Svi­tolina, pre­vail­ing in a semi­fi­nal at In­dian Wells, Calif., be­fore win­ning that event in March.

“I played Svi­tolina and Pliskova once this year, so I kind of know what to ex­pect,” An­dreescu said.

“I played Svi­tolina and Pliskova once this year, so I kind of know what to ex­pect.” BIANCA AN­DREESCU

The Red Group in­cludes No. 1 Ash­leigh Barty of Aus­tralia, No. 3 Naomi Osaka of Ja­pan, No. 6 Pe­tra Kvi­tova of the Czech Re­pub­lic and No. 7 Belinda Ben­cic of Switzer­land.

Tour­na­ment play be­gins on Sun­day in Shen­zhen, China, with Osaka play­ing against Kvi­tova, and Barty fac­ing off with Ben­cic.

Af­ter a round-robin, the top two play­ers in each group re­ceive semi­fi­nal berths.

An­dreescu is the first Cana­dian in the WTA Fi­nals sin­gles draw since 2014 when Eu­ge­nie Bouchard of West­mount, Que., went 0-3.

In dou­bles, Ot­tawa’s Gabriela Dabrowski and Yi­fan Xu of China are seeded fourth.

— With files from The As­so­ci­ated Press

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