Wildcard Andreescu wins Indian Wells title

Published by AP / Tennismash

Bianca Andreescu celebrates her victory over Angelique Kerber in the Indian Wells final (Getty Images)
Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu caps a stunning fortnight by beating three-time major champion Angelique Kerber to win the Indian Wells trophy – her first WTA title.

Bianca Andreescu’s giant-killing run at Indian Wells continued in the final as the teenager upset world No.8 Angelique Kerber to become the first wildcard winner of the prestigious WTA tournament.

The 18-year-old Canadian prevailed 6-4 3-6 6-4 in two hours and 12 minutes against the three-time major champion to become the youngest champion of a WTA Premier Mandatory event – the four biggest tournaments outside of the Grand Slams and the season-ending WTA Finals.

She is the youngest Indian Wells champion since a 17-year-old Serena Williams triumphed in 1999.

“Hopefully this moment can be a great inspiration for many young athletes because, like I always say, if you believe in yourself, anything is possible,” Andreescu said during the trophy presentation.

“If you work hard, you dream big to get big, then you can accomplish so many things. And that’s what I’ve been doing throughout many years – and now this moment has become a reality. So it’s really, really crazy.”

NEWS: Nadal’s withdrawal sends Federer into Indian Wells final

Andreescu overcame nerves, arm and leg issues and exhaustion in the final set on Sunday to earn the first title of her fledgling career.

She fought back from a break down in the deciding set, to win on her fourth match point when Kerber netted a backhand.

A game earlier, she’d served for the title, only for Kerber to save three match points to extend the epic contest.

Germany’s Kerber was the last of five seeded players that Andreescu knocked off in her seven matches in the desert; the Canadian also beat Dominika Cibulkova, Wang Qiang, Garbine Muguruza and Elina Svitolina.

Kerber remains without a title since she won Wimbledon last year.

Andreescu is projected to rise 36 spots to No.24 in the WTA Tour rankings on Monday, after she started the year at 152nd.

She reached the final in Auckland and semifinals in Acapulco – as well as winning the WTA 125K event in Newport beach – before arriving in the Californian desert.

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