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Svitolina vs Andreescu WTA Indian Wells live streaming, preview and tips - Svitolina aiming to make first Premier Mandatory final against rising star Andreescu

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 15 Mar 2019
  • Elina Svitolina vs Bianca Andreescu is live from Indian Wells at 6.30pm local time on Friday (1.30am GMT)
  • It's the first career meeting between the pair
Elina Svitolina (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Reigning WTA Finals champion Elina Svitolina takes on teenage sensation Bianca Andreescu in the BNP Paribas Open semi-finals in Indian Wells on Friday.

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World No. 6 Elina Svitolina targets a spot in her first Premier Mandatory final on Friday when she squares off against rising 18-year-old star Bianca Andreescu in the semi-finals.

Svitolina has been the marathon woman of the draw over the last week, clocking up a total of almost six hours on court across her fourth round and quarter-final encounters, including a gruelling three hour and 11 minute victory over Ashleigh Barty in what was the longest match of the year so far. Svitolina earlier came back from a set down to beat another teenager in Sofia Kenin in three sets in her opening match, before securing a pair of wins over Australian players Daria Gavrilova and Barty. The Ukrainian was forced to dig deep yet again in her quarter-final against yet another teenager in Marketa Vondrousova, with the 19-year-old Czech claiming the first set and also going up a break in the decider. However, Svitolina’s experience and overall steadier and more consistent baseline game proved the difference as the sixth seed mounted another comeback to prevail by a 4-6 6-4 6-4 scoreline.

"I was just trying to bring everything what I've got left in my body. Because I know that tomorrow is a day off, so it's a good thing. I have some time to recover. For me, it's important,” Svitolina said when asked about how she’s holding up physically after a demanding last week.
"The body is feeling, you know, a little bit tired. It's normal, but in the end, I'm very happy. The physical part that I improved and stayed strong for two tough matches."

After becoming a top 10 mainstay over the last three or so seasons, Svitolina experienced an up-and-down 2018 - but finished it on top of the world (not at No. 1, but you get my drift). She started the seats by winning the Brisbane International and successfully defended her titles in Dubai and Rome, but a disappointing French Open loss to Mihaela Buzarnescu seemed to rattle her, with Svitolina going on to lose in the opening round of Wimbledon and the fourth round of the U.S. Open, while she also lost in the first round of Wuhan and Beijing.

Svitolina barely qualified for the season-ending WTA Finals Singapore, but after scraping into the elite eight field, she played her best tennis of the season, posting five top 10 wins on the trot over Petra Kvitova, Karolina Pliskova, Caroline Wozniacki, Kiki Bertens and Sloane Stephens to win the biggest title of her career. The 24-year-old didn’t start 2019 well as she lost in the first round of her Brisbane title defence, but she’s been extremely consistent ever since, making the quarter-finals of the Australian Open for the second straight year and the semi-finals of Doha and Dubai. Is this the moment where Svitolina advances into a first Premier Mandatory final?

Bianca Andreescu (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
She will have to be operating at the peak of her powers, because Bianca Andreescu is on fire. The 18-year-old rising star has has put together an extraordinary start to the season, registering a 26-3 record in all competitions, including making her first WTA final in Auckland (beating Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki), winning the Newport Beach $125k tournament, making the semi-finals in Acapulco, winning both her Fed Cup matches for Canada, qualifying for the Australian Open and making the second round (with no rest from her Auckland run) and now reaching the Indian Wells semi-finals on her tournament debut and playing her first WTA Premier Mandatory main draw, starting her campaign with a come-from-behind win over Irina-Camelia Begu before storming past Dominika Cibulkova, Stefanie Voegele, Qiang Wang and Garbine Muguruza without dropping a set.

All of those victories are eye-catching, but it was Andreescu’s stunning and ruthless performance against Muguruza in the quarter-finals that really proved that the Canadian is here to stay, with the teenager allowing the former World No. 1 and two-time major champion just one game as she surged to a 6-0 6-1 victory in just 52 minutes. The triumph propels Andreescu into the world’s top 40 (she started the year outside the top 150) in the next WTA rankings, while she’s also only the third wildcard after Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters to make the semi-finals in Indian Wells.

So what’s the secret to Andreescu’s sudden success?

“I wake up every morning and the first thing I do is I meditate,” she said after beating Muguruza. “I think it really helps me get a good jump-start to the day. Not opening my phone or anything, not getting too overwhelmed.
“I take 15 minutes every morning just to get in tune with my body, my mind. I visualise myself having a good day, like, stuff like that.
“I feel like a lot of people work on the physical part of things, but I think the mental part is the most important because it controls your whole body, right?”

Unsurprisingly, this will be the first encounter between the pair. Andreescu is on the run of her life and judging by the way she ripped apart Muguruza, she certainly can’t be discounted in this match-up. However, with Svitolina enjoying a day off, I’m banking on her to be ready physically for this one. Svitolina is such a different player to basically everyone Andreescu has beaten so far at Indian Wells and will get much more balls back into play - with depth, pace and precision. The Canadian no doubt has the ability to overpower Svitolina, but I think the Ukrainian will relish this opportunity to make a first Premier Mandatory final, and if she can keep forcing Andreescu to play that extra ball, the teenager might start spraying some errors as she buckles under the enormity of the situation.

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Svitolina vs Andreescu WTA Indian Wells live streaming, preview and tips - Svitolina aiming to make first Premier Mandatory final against rising star Andreescu

Reigning WTA Finals champion Elina Svitolina takes on teenage sensation Bianca Andreescu in the BNP Paribas Open semi-finals in Indian Wells on Friday.

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