Indian Wells – Canadian sensation Bianca Andreescu toppled sixth-ranked Elina Svitolina 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 on Friday to reach the biggest final of her WTA career at Indian Wells.
The 18-year-old, ranked 60th in the world after starting the year at 152, continued a stellar run in the California desert that also included a victory over former world number one Garbine Muguruza.
Andreescu, who received a wildcard into her first premier mandatory event main draw, becomes the first wild card to reach the women’s final at Indian Wells.
“I really need a moment to soak this all in. This is just so incredible,” an emotional Andreescu told the crowd. “This past week has been a dream come true.”
And it’s not over yet. Andreescu will face eighth-ranked Angelique Kerber, the reigning Wimbledon champion from Germany, who beat Swiss Belinda Bencic 6-4, 6-2.
Bencic, a former world number seven whose ranking slumped as injuries stalled her career, followed up her fourth-round victory over world number one and defending champion Naomi Osaka with a win over fifth-ranked Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals.
She rode a 12-match WTA winning streak into her semi-final against Kerber, with six of those wins coming against top 10 players.
While Bencic has been enjoying a resurgence, Andreescu has been building a breakout season, coming through qualifying to reach the final at Auckland and making the semi-finals in Acapulco in February.
She had to battle to close it out against Ukraine’s Svitolina, who saved one match point against her serve in the penultimate game as she forced Andreescu to serve it out.
It would take three more match points for a weary-looking Andreescu to succeed, when another baseline rally ended with Svitolina firing a forehand into the net.
Results on Friday in the BNP Paribas Open WTA and ATP Masters hardcourt tournament (x-denotes seeded player):
Roger Federer (SUI x4) bt Hubert Hurkacz (POL) 6-4, 6-4
Rafael Nadal (ESP x2) bt Karen Khachanov (RUS x12) 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/2)
Angelique Kerber (GER x8) bt Belinda Bencic (SUI x23) 6-4, 6-2
Bianca Andreescu (CAN) bt Elina Svitolina (UKR x6) 6-3, 2-6, 6-4