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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 March 2019

Indian Wells: Angelique Kerber sets up final with Bianca Andreescu

Dubai champion Belinda Bencic sees 12-match winning run ended by the German world No 8, who faces the youngest Indian Wells finalist for 20 years

Angelique Kerber celebrates her semi-final win over Belinda Bencic in the Indian Wells semi-finals. Reuters
Angelique Kerber celebrates her semi-final win over Belinda Bencic in the Indian Wells semi-finals. Reuters

Belinda Bencic's hot streak came to an end in the Indian Wells semi-finals on Friday night as Angelique Kerber booked a final date with teenager Bianca Andreescu.

Bencic, who claimed her first title in nearly four years at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships last month, saw her 12-match winning run ended by world No 8 Kerber as the German produced 6-4, 6-2 victory.

Kerber overcame a 4-2 deficit in the opening set to reach her first career final in Indian Wells.

"I was trying to focus only on my side of the court. I was trying to play concentrated, and going for it when I had the chance,” Kerber said. “I'm really happy to be in the final for the first time now."

Kerber will next face the youngest player to reach the Indian Wells final in 20 years after 18=year-old Andreescu beat Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.

The Canadian world No 60 continued her magical run by overcoming sixth seeded Svitolina following wins over former world No 1 Garbine Muguruza and world No 18 Qiang Wang.

"This past week, it’s been a dream come true playing in front of these amazing crowds," Andreescu said in a courtside interview after putting her name alongside Serena Williams who reached and won the 1999 final at 17.

"Today, I believed in myself playing against these top players. I’ve watched them play so many times on TV so it’s so incredible to play against them and win.”

Andreescu has shown a knack for competing against top players having beaten Caroline Wozniacki in Auckland earlier this year. Against Svitolina, she survived two hours and 12 minutes of rollercoaster tennis to prevail.

Svitolina broke Andreescu’s service twice in the first three games to storm to a 3-0 lead, but the youngster stormed back with aggressive groundstrokes to win six straight games and the opening set where she claimed 26 of the last 35 points.

Svitolina refused to squander another fast start in the second set, though, where she dominated.

In the decider, Andreescu showed resilience by saving nine of the 10 break points against her and breaking Svitolina twice out of her three chances to win.

"In the third set I kept my composure, at least tried to. I pumped myself up,” Andreescu said. "It was a crazy match. It was a roller coaster. I'm really happy I pulled through."

Updated: March 16, 2019 02:37 PM

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