Svitolina misses WTA final, Kerber through

Saturday 16 March, 2019
Nate Williams
Angelique Kerber Angelique Kerber
Angelique Kerber (R) has beaten Belinda Bencic of Switzerland to reach the Indian Wells tennis final

Canadian teen sensation Bianca Andreescu has conquered Ukraine's Elina Svitolina in three sets for a place in the Indian Wells final.

The 18-year-old, who dismissed two-time grand slam winner Garbine Muguruza 6-0 6-1 in her last match, ended 2018 ranked at No. 178 but, after an impressive start to 2019, will enter the world's top 40 for the first time.

"This is so incredible, this past week, it's a dream come true," she said after Friday's 6-3 2-6 6-4 victory.

"I believe in myself playing against these top players. I've watched them on TV and it's great to play them and win. Either one in the final, I have nothing to lose."

Germany's Angelique Kerber will play Andreescu, the first wildcard finalist in Indian Wells, after cruising to a 6-4 6-2 win over Swiss Belinda Bencic in 67 minutes.

"I'm really looking forward for a really tough battle," said reigning Wimbledon champion Kerber, seeded eighth in California.

"I know I have to play my best tennis because she was a wildcard here but she is a really great player."

Andreescu made a handful of nervous errors in her first premier-level semi-final as her serve was broken twice in 10 minutes to trail 3-0 to Svitolina.

But the youngest semi-finalist in a decade fired back by winning six-straight games to take the first set.

The 23-year-old Svitolina bounced back in the second set after breaking twice to cement a 4-1 lead. A double fault followed by a wide drop shot from Andreescu at 5-2 opened up a deciding set.

Andreescu was first to break in the final set as she earned a 2-0 head start but, as she started to tire, Svitolina pounced and levelled at 3-3.

The teenager refused to give up and retaliated with another break and, after saving three break points, claimed a match-winning 5-3 advantage.

Andreescu missed three match points but, on her fourth opportunity, Svitolina hit a ball into the net to end the contest after two hours and 12 minutes.

The Ukrainian was bothered during the semi-final by an inflamed right knee.

"I couldn't allow myself to play 100 per cent because my movement was not there," she said.

AP