The 18-year-old upstart Bianca Andreescu Sunday became the first Canadian player and the first wildcard to win the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament, defeating veteran Angelique Kerber in three hard-played sets.
Andreescu, who came to the desert unseeded, beat five seeded players to become the youngest woman to win the Indian Wells title since 17-year-old Serena Williams did in 1999.
Andreescu historic 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win was an epic, nail-biting match that went down to the wire.
She went up 5-3 in the final set giving her the chance to serve for the title, but failed to close it out after three championship points.
Kerber did not relent and came back to make it 5-4 after a drop shot by Andreescu went into the net.
But the day belonged to Andreescu, who collapsed on the floor in joy and exhaustion after Kerber’s final shot caught net.
Andreescu — who started the year ranked number 152 — improves to 28-3 in the season, and becomes the first Canadian to win a Women’s Tennis Association Premier event.
While audiences didn’t get to see the much-anticipated Rafael Nadal-Roger Federer semifinal showdown Saturday after Nadal withdrew with a knee injury, fans still have a chance to witness history in the men’s singles final.
A well-rested Federer will be pursuing a record-breaking sixth title, but he will have to fend off Austrian Dominic Thiem, who is coming off a 2-hour-31-minute semifinal victory over Canadian Milos Raonic on Saturday, 7-6, 6-7, 6-4.
Seventh-seeded Thiem has only faced Federer four times, and the pair have evenly split the victories.
This will be Thiem’s first finals appearance at Indian Wells.
The winners of the tournament will take home $1,354,010 while the runners-up earn $686,000.
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