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Andreescu beats Svitolina to continue sparkling run into Indian Wells final

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 16 Mar 2019
  • Andreescu outlasts Svitolina in three sets to make second WTA final of 2019
  • The 18-year-old is the youngest finalist at Indian Wells since Serena in 1999
  • She'll face Angelique Kerber for the title
Bianca Andreescu (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Bianca Andreescu has continued her extraordinary start to the season, overcoming reigning WTA Finals champion Elina Svitolina to reach her first Premier Mandatory final on her Indian Wells debut.

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Starting the season ranked outside the world’s top 170 and having never played in a Premier Mandatory tournament before, Andreescu - who needed a wildcard to enter the main draw - has put together a whirlwind week in the Coachella Valley, backing up her crushing 6-0 6-1 win over two-time major winner Garbine Muguruza by outlasting sixth seed Svitolina 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 in two hours and 12 minutes.

In securing her second top 10 win (first was over Caroline Wozniacki in Auckland to launch her 2019 breakout), Andreescu becomes the youngest finalist at Indian Wells since Serena Williams in 1999. The 18-year-old is also the first wildcard to make the BNP Paribas Open final.

"I really need a moment to soak this all in. This is just so incredible, this week has been a dream come true," she said during her on-court interview. "Today, I just believed in myself. I've watched (players like Svitolina) play so many times on TV. It's so incredible to play against them and win."

Andreescu is swiftly transforming into one of the WTA stars she’s watched so many times on TV. The Canadian sensation ended 2018 at No. 178 in the world, but on the back of her runner-up finish in Auckland, making the semi-finals of Acapulco, winning the WTA $125k Series title at Newport Beach and qualifying and reaching the second round of the Australian Open for a 27-3 record in 2019, Andreescu will rise to at least No. 33 in the world when the new rankings are released on Monday.

If she can complete a dream run to the title, Andreescu will climb to No. 24. It’s not all just ranking points and marquee victories either - Andreescu had earned $350,909 in career prize money before Indian Wells, but by making the final, she will pocket $686,000 (and a whopping $1,354,010 if she secures the title).

Bianca Andreescu (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Andreescu overcame a mid-match resurgence from Svitolina and what appeared to be the onset of cramping deep into the deciding set to prevail. Svitolina saved a match point on serve at 5-3 as Andreescu missed a backhand by inches, while she also saved two more as the Canadian served for the match at 5-4 with some of her trademark retrieving from the baseline. Looking like she was about to conjure up another three-set comeback after already winning a bunch of marathon matches this week in the desert, Svitolina carved out two break points, but Andreescu produced some fearless tennis, saving both with crushing forehands, before landing her milestone victory when Svitolina netted a forehand on her fourth match point.

Andreescu will face three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber for the title on Sunday after the German snapped the 12-match winning streak of Belinda Bencic in the second semi-final.

Kerber hadn’t really hit her stride this season before arriving in Indian Wells, but she’s stepped it up and improved as the tournament has progressed, backing up her first top 10 win of the season over Aryna Sabalenka by defeating Bencic 6-4 6-2.

Bencic, who won the Dubai title last month and has picked up six top 10 wins over the last few weeks, appeared as if she was going to extend her winning streak to 13 matches after moving ahead 2-0 and 4-2 in the opening set, but the Swiss began to make loose errors, especially off her backhand side, with Kerber sensing an opportunity and refusing to miss as her own brand of counterpunching tennis started to shine.

Kerber ultimately went on to win 10 of the last 12 games to secure the victory and advance into her first ever Premier Mandatory final.


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Andreescu beats Svitolina to continue sparkling run into Indian Wells final

Bianca Andreescu has continued her extraordinary start to the season, overcoming reigning WTA Finals champion Elina Svitolina to reach her first Premier Mandatory final on her Indian Wells debut.

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