INDIAN WELLS (United States): Canadian sensation Bianca Andreescu became the first wild card to win the WTA title at Indian Wells on Sunday with a gritty 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory over Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber.
Andreescu, 18, shook off fatigue to topple the eighth-ranked German, who hasn’t won a title since she beat Serena Williams in last year’s Wimbledon final for her third Grand Slam crown.
Ranked 60th coming into the tournament, Andreescu will rise to 24th in the world with her first WTA title.
When she finally converted her fourth match point she kissed the sun-baked court and flopped spread-eagled on her back.
“If you believe in yourself, anything is possible,” Andreescu said as she hoisted the crystal trophy as the youngest player ever to win one of the WTA’s prestigious Premier Mandatory tournaments.
It’s another giant step in a breakout season for Andreescu, who finished 2018 ranked 178th in the world.
She has racked up 28 match wins in 2019 across all levels, including qualifying and challenger circuit wins – but Sunday’s triumph was a cut above.
She had held for 2-1 in the third when she received treatment on her right arm and shoulder and looked to be flagging when she was broken in the fifth game.
Urged by her coach at the change over to push through, Andreescu dug deep.
She broke Kerber in the next game, taking a 15-30 lead with a lovely drop shot-lob combination, and giving herself a break point with an overhead winner before converting with another forehand winner.
She broke Kerber again for a 5-3 lead but had to call on her last reserves as Kerber saved three match points in the next game on the way to earning a break.
But Andreescu broke Kerber for the third time in the set to seal the victory, giving herself a break point with a blistering forehand before Kerber ended things with a ball into the net. – AFP