Trailing Germany’s Angelique Kerber 3-2 in the third set of Sunday’s BNP Paribas Open final, a visibly tired Bianca Andreescu admitted to coach Sylvain Bruneau she was running on fumes.
“I’m tired…my feet are burning…I can barely move out there,” Andreescu said. “I want this so bad.”
Bruneau urged Andreescu to push through the pain and she won eight of the next nine points and eventually took a commanding 5-3 lead. Kerber roared back to save three championship points and break Andreescu, but it was not enough as the Canadian teenager defeated the German 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 to capture the 2019 BNP Paribas Open crown.
An emotional Andreescu dropped her racquet and laid flat on her back, soaking in her first WTA title win and becoming the first Canadian to win a WTA Premier Mandatory tournament. The Mississauga, Ont., native started the 2-hour, 18-minute match strong, holding serve despite a meager 60 percent on her first serves. Kerber’s 14 unforced errors contributed to the subpar first set.
In the second set, Andreescu committed a forehand volley error to set up Kerber’s first break point at 3-1. The 31-year-old succeeded on her only break chance while the Canadian, who threw her racquet in frustration at one point, was 0-for-2 on break opportunities to go with 19 unforced errors in the set.
At that point, fatigue and a pre-existing shoulder injury hampered Andreescu, who required a medical timeout early in the third set. Kerber, last year’s Wimbledon winner, seemed to have the physical and mental edge in the deciding frame. However, following her aforementioned chat with Bruneau, Andreescu powered her way to the victory.
With the win, Andreescu became the first wild card to win an Indian Wells title in tournament history and the youngest player to capture the crown since Serena Williams in 1999. Andreescu will see both her ranking and wallet benefit from the win as she will become the No. 24 player in the world upon new WTA Tour rankings being released Monday. Also, after pocketing a career total of $350,909 entering Sunday, Andreescu’s Indian Wells title comes with a $1,354,010 winner’s purse.
Source: Mark Syleymanov