Indian Wells Tennis Women's Semifinals 2019 Results, Updated Finals Schedule

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2019

Bianca Andreescu, an 18-year-old Canadian upstart, will try to capture her first WTA title at Indian Wells.
Bianca Andreescu, an 18-year-old Canadian upstart, will try to capture her first WTA title at Indian Wells.Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

While Serena Williams may still win more tournaments throughout her illustrious career, it's clear that women's tennis is going through changes.

Instead of one player dominating for years, new stars are coming up and claiming their moments in the sun. Angelique Kerber is not a new player. She is a 31-year-old German who has proved her ability and talent on many occasions.

She defeated hard-hitting Belinda Bencic in the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, California, in a Friday night semifinal match.

Kerber advanced to Sunday afternoon's finals against a relatively unknown 18-year-old Bianca Andreescu, who came into the tournament as a wild card and ranked 60th among WTA competitors.

Andreescu overcame a slow start and a tough opponent as she defeated Elina Svitolina 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. The Canadian dropped the first three games of her match before she started to find her rhythm.

Svitolina and Andreescu were quite evenly matched from a statistical point of view, with one real exception: Andreescu went 6-of-12 (50 percent) on break-point opportunities, while Svitolina went 6-of-19 (32 percent).

"I really need a moment to soak it all in," said Andreescu, per Richard Osborn of BNPParibasOpen.com. "It's been so incredible this past week. When I meditate, I visualize myself after the match as the winner. Today I just believed in myself.”

Andreescu is looking for her first championship in the second final appearance of her career. She defeated Dominika Cibulkova, Qiang Wang and Garbine Muguruza before her win over Svitolina.

Kerber dominated her semifinal over Bencic with her ability to return, and she advanced to the finals with a straight-set 6-4, 6-2 triumph.

Kerber appeared to frustrate her opponent with her crisp groundstrokes. Every time Bencic would unleash a hard forehand, Kerber appeared to have the answer.

Bencic broke Kerber early in the match, but the German was able to get that break back quickly and establish her consistency.

Bencic had an emotional exchange with her father, who serves as her coach, in the second set. She was not able to rally after the coaching session and left the court quickly after her loss.

The strength of Kerber's game in this match was her ability to return serve. She won 65 percent of the points on Bencic's serve, while her opponent was only able to win 45 percent of her returns.

Kerber said one of the keys to her win over Bencic was her ability to concentrate and hit winners when she had the opportunity.

As she looked forward to the championship match, she told ESPN tennis analyst Mary Jo Fernandez that facing Andreescu will require a solid performance.

"She came in as a wild card and she has beaten quite a few dangerous opponents," Kerber said in her on-court interview. "She is playing with nothing to lose, and it will be a challenge."

The championship match will commence Sunday at 4 p.m. ET and will be televised by ESPN2.

Kerber is clearly a strong defensive player who can return aggressive shots, while Andreescu will try to use her power to gain a foothold and possibly win her first title.

Andreescu and Kerber will play each other for the first time.

    

Prediction

This is certainly an opportunity for a young player to establish herself in women's tennis, and Andreescu has the consistency and power to cause problems for Kerber.

However, she simply does not have enough experience to stay with her opponent. Kerber has the ability to overcome bad points and bad breaks and do it in the spotlight of the championship round.

Andreescu will almost certainly have her time. She will push Kerber hard in this match, but the German player will take a tough, three-set match.

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