Wildcard Bianca Andreescu, 18, shocks Angelique Kerber to win Indian Wells

TENNIS MAR 17 BNP Paribas Open

Three-times Grand Slam champion Kerber, who is looking for a maiden title in Indian Wells, will next play Belinda Bencic after the Swiss beat world number five Karolina Pliskova 6-3 4-6 6-3 in the quarter-final earlier in the day.

After gritting out a tough three-setter against Andrea Petkovic in the first round, Williams rallied from down a set and two breaks against No. 3 Petra Kvitova and then cruised to straight-sets wins over Christina McHale and Mona Barthel. With her victory she followed in the footsteps of Naomi Osaka, who was a little-known 20-year-old when she won the title last year.

Former world number one Angelique Kerber cruised into the Indian Wells Open final with a straight-sets win over in-form Belinda Bencic.

Following the defeat, Venus Williams will be out of top-40 of WTA rankings since she had been defending semi-final's points from 2018. "I was trying to play concentrated, and going for it when I had the chance", Kerber said afterwards.

Instead, she'll open by telling the story of the first set of her first match of the tournament.

Milos Raonic moved into his fourth Indian Wells Masters semi-final, while Dominic Thiem was handed a walkover on Thursday.

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"This is definitely the fittest I've ever felt".

"She played really tricky", Kerber said after the match. Bencic showed that fitness and mental determination to fight back to 5-4, and then worked a break point to level the set, but Pliskova's serving kicked in, and she held, 6-4.

"I was struggling, I think, a little bit with myself since the beginning of the match", Pliskova said.

In the second set, Andreescu committed a forehand volley error to set up Kerber's first break point at 3-1. "But I have had many moments like this in the past, playing Challenger events, juniors".

After dropping the first set she came back strong in the second, winning the first four games as she forced a decisive third set, although not before Bencic saved four set points. "She is one who is really trying to take the match into her hands". That quickly changed, though, as Andreescu started the third set with a break of serve, which seemed to knock the stuffing out of Svitolina. "Bencic is playing really flat, and she's going for it". Federer won just two more games in the set.

Andreescu's explosive attacks and unpredictable shot choices had endeared her to the Indian Wells crowd in a week in which she saw off a series of higher-ranked players including Garbine Muguruza and Elina Svitolina. "And now to be able to have my name in front of so many wonderful champions is, it means the world to me", said Andreescu. "I just want to savour this".

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