Bianca Andreescu’s dream run at the WTA tournament in Indian Wells continued, but she’ll have to go through three-time major champion Angelique Kerber if she hopes to win her first tour-level.
The 18-year-old Canadian wildcard beat gritty sixth seed Elina Svitolina in three compelling sets on Friday night, before Kerber ended Belinda Bencic’s 12-match winning streak in the second semifinal.
“I’m really looking forward to a really tough battle. She’s here as a wildcard, and she beat a lot of good players. She has nothing to lose, she enjoys her tennis and she’s a great player,” Kerber said of Andreescu.
“I know that I have to play my best tennis in the final again, and I will try to enjoy it as well.”
After trailing 3-0 in the opening set, Andreescu battled physically in the final set against Svitolina, rubbing an ointment into her calf on the changeover before she served for the match.
She had to save three break points in that final game, before eventually converting her fourth match point to win 6-3 2-6 6-4.
“I’m actually shaking right now. It’s just so incredible. I’m honestly speechless, speechless,” Andreescu said.
“This match had a little bit of up and downs … in the third set I kept my composure, at least tried to. I pumped myself up. I went for it. Like I always say, I went for my shots.
“It was a crazy match. It was a roller coaster. I’m really happy I pulled through.”
She moves through to her second final of the year, after reaching the same stage in Auckland as a qualifier.
In 2019, she has beaten Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Dominika Cibulkova and Garbine Muguruza; her victory over Svitolina took her win-loss record this season to 27-3 across all levels of tournament.
After beginning the season at world No.107, she’s projected to rise to No.33 when next week’s rankings are released.
Kerber, meanwhile, is attempting to win a WTA Premier Mandatory for the first time in her career. She’s also never won a Premier 5-level title.
She got to the Indian Wells decider with a clinical 6-4 6-2 win over Bencic, and has now won her past two matches against the Swiss in straight sets.
Bencic on Kerber: “She took my weapons away with how she was playing against me. Obviously she's a great baseline player, so she's not gonna miss.
Definitely she put the wall mode on.” #BNPPO19
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) March 16, 2019
The world No.8, after struggling in the early rounds, improved in a straight-sets win over Venus Williams in the quarterfinals, and after trailing Bencic 4-2 in the first set, won 10 of the final 12 games to progress.
“It’s always tough to play against Belinda. She played so great in the past few weeks,” Kerber said.
“I was trying to focus only on my side of the court. I was trying to play concentrated, and going for it when I had the chance. I really enjoy the semifinals here – it was already twice here, and I’m really happy to be in the final for the first time now.”
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