Bianca Andreescu’s incredible breakout at Indian Wells continued Friday night in the Indian Wells desert. The 18-year-old who ranked outside the Top 150 at the start of the year, finds herself in the biggest final of her career after stunning world No. 6 Elina Svitolina 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.
“I’m actually shaking right now,” said Andreescu. “It’s just so incredible. I’m honestly speechless, speechless.”
The compact yet powerful Andreescu was down early in the match 3-0 as the Ukraine was in control. But Andreescu stormed back, pounding groundstrokes and taking six straight games and the set. She then grabbed an immediate break in the second before momentum changed again.
Svitolina regain her form in the second and taking six of the next seven games to force a third.
In the final set, the two traded early breaks and then up a break serving 4-3, Andreescu got out of a love-40 hold then held on for the win.
“This match had a little bit of up and downs,” Andreescu said. “I started a bit slow and then I picked it up after 3-0, thank God. Svitolina took control of the second set. I started missing more. Then 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,” she added. “It was a crazy match. It was a roller coaster. I’m really happy I pulled through.”
Andreescu has now won 27 of her last 30 at all levels on the WTA this year. Next will be 3-time Slam winner and former No. 1 Angelique Kerber. The German snapped Belinda Bencic’s 12-match win streak dispatching the Swiss 6-4, 6-2.
Bencic, who had won her last six against Top 10 players and had beaten Kerber in three of four meetings, led early 4-2. But Kerber won six straight games to seize control of the match and eventually reach her first Premier Mandatory final.
“It’s always tough to play against Belinda. She played so great in the past few weeks,” Kerber told the crowd.
“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.”
Kerber has never faced Andreescu, but she looks forward to the challenge of stopping the teen.
“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,” said Kerber.
“I know that I have to play my best tennis in the final again, and I will try to enjoy it as well.”
Andreescu will bid for her first career WTA title against someone who plays nothing like Svitolina or Garbine Muguruza.
“Kerber is an incredible fighter,” Andreescu said. “She redirects her shots. Like, she can hit any shot at any time in any specific place whenever she wants. She has a pretty decent serve. She’s a good mover, great fighter.”
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