Angelique Kerber vs. Bianca Andreescu, Indian Wells Final Preview

🇺🇸🌵🏆 BNPPO19, Indian Wells – Final Preview
🇩🇪 (8) Angelique Kerber vs. 🇨🇦 (WC) Bianca Andreescu

Angelique Kerber and Bianca Andreescu will both be playing in a premier mandatory level final for the very first time when they meet in Sunday’s final at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Whilst this is an opportunity at a maiden premier mandatory title for both, there is obviously a huge gulf in class between the pair heading into this match. Kerber is a 3-time Grand Slam champion and former world number 1 whilst Andreescu’s greatest triumph came at the WTA 125K level, this is easily the biggest match of Andreescu’s young career.

Angelique Kerber of Germany in action during her semi-final at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Angelique Kerber has had a topsy-turvy week in the Californian desert to reach her first BNP Paribas Open final. Kerber certainly hasn’t always been at her best but is peaking at the right time as she looks to claim her first title of the season. Kerber came through a couple of sloppy matches midway through the event against Vikhlyantseva and Sabalenka but has really upped her game in her last few matches in impressive straight set wins over Venus Williams and Belinda Bencic to bring a heap of momentum in Sunday’s final.

Angelique Kerber’s route to the final:

R1: (BYE)
R2: Putintseva 6-0 6-2
R3: (Q) Vikhlyantseva 3-6 6-1 6-3
R4: (9) Sabalenka 6-1 4-6 6-4
QF: V. Williams 7-6 6-3
SF: (23) Bencic 6-4 6-2

Bianca Andreescu continues to defy the odds. Andreescu’s run to the final in Indian Wells is amazing when considering that this is her first time competing in a WTA premier mandatory event. Andreescu has won a whopping 27 matches in 2019, more than any other player on tour. Importantly, Andreescu has beaten several top level players, including wins over Dominika Cibulkova, Garbine Muguruza and Elina Svitolina this week. Andreescu’s semi-final win over Elina Svitolina was particularly impressive given how hard she had to work for that win against a tough opponent.

Bianca Andreescu of Canada in action during her semi-final at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Bianca Andreescu’s route to the final:

R1: Begu 6-7 6-3 6-3
R2: (32) Cibulkova 6-2 6-2
R3: (Q) Voegele 6-1 6-2
R4: (18) Q. Wang 7-5 6-2
QF: (20) Muguruza 6-0 6-1
SF: (6) Svitolina 6-3 2-6 6-4

This will be the first career meeting between Kerber and Andreescu. It will be interesting to see how the 18-year-old’s game stacks up against the might of Angelique Kerber and also whether the Canadian can handle the occasion in the biggest match of her career.

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Elina Svitolina vs. Bianca Andreescu, Indian Wells SF Preview

🇺🇸🌵 BNPPO19, Indian Wells – SF Preview
🇺🇦 (6) Elina Svitolina vs. 🇨🇦 (wc) Bianca Andreescu

A pair of first-time BNP Paribas Open semi-finalists will go head-to-head on Friday when the 6th seeded Elina Svitolina takes on Canadian wild card Bianca Andreescu. This will be the first career meeting between Svitolina and Andreescu, it will be interesting to see how the Andreescu game stacks up against Svitolina. Andreescu has been the fairy tale story of the tournament thus far but this is arguably her greatest test yet, can the 18 year-old keep her magical run going or will Svitolina be too strong?

Bianca Andreescu of Canada in action during her quarter-final match at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Elina Svitolina has done things the hard way on route to her first semi-final appearance at the BNP Paribas Open. Svitolina received a bye through the first round before coming very close to elimination in her opening match where she fought past Sofia Kenin 3-6 7-6 6-4. Svitolina’s only straight set win this tournament came at the third round stage where she defeated Daria Gavrilova 7-5 6-4. Svitolina then outlasted Barty in a 3-hour epic, the longest match of the season thus far, a 7-6 5-7 6-4 win for the Ukrainian. Svitolina confirmed her spot in the semi-finals with another tough win, a gutsy 4-6 6-4 6-4 win over Marketa Vondrousova. Luckily for Svitolina she got a day off before her semi-final match.

Winning has become a habit for Bianca Andreescu in 2019. Andreescu has won more matches than anyone else on tour in 2019 having already won a whopping 26 matches across all competitions. Andreescu’s level has improved throughout the tournament in Indian Wells. Andreescu started the week with a 3 set win over Irina-Camelia Begu, her only dropped set of the tournament thus far. Andreescu went on to comfortably defeat Dominika Cibulkova, Stefanie Voegele and Qiang Wang in straight sets. Andreescu’s most impressive performance came at the quarter-final stage where she thrashed Garbine Muguruza 6-0 6-1.

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Angelique Kerber vs. Belinda Bencic, Indian Wells SF Preview

🇺🇸🌵 BNPPO19, Indian Wells – SF Preview
🇩🇪 (8) Angelique Kerber vs. 🇨🇭 (23) Belinda Bencic

A blockbuster semi-final clash from the Californian desert sees Angelique Kerber take on Belinda Bencic with a place in the BNP Paribas Open final up for grabs. Belinda Bencic is arguably the hottest player on tour at the moment as she enters this clash on an 11-match winning streak. Bencic also enters this match with a winning record over Kerber at the tour level, however the German is a proven champion who becomes increasingly difficult to beat at the business end of big tournaments.

Belinda Bencic of Switzerland in action during her quarter-final match at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Angelique Kerber is through to the semi-final stage in Indian Wells for the third time. Kerber’s route to the final 4 hasn’t always been easy. Kerber received a bye through the opening round before cruising past Yulia Putintseva 6-0 6-2. Kerber was forced to dig deep in her next couple of matches as she required 3 sets to get the better of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Aryna Sabalenka. Kerber produced arguably her best performance of the season thus far in a 7-6 6-3 victory over Venus Williams to confirm her spot in the final 4.

Belinda Bencic is on a roll. Bencic arrived in Indian Wells fresh from winning the title in Dubai and has continued her winnings ways in Indian Wells to extend her unbeaten run to 11 matches. Bencic received a bye through the first round before cruising through her first few matches with straight set wins over Alison Van Uytvanck and Ekaterina Alexandrova. Bencic’s most impressive performance came at the fourth round stage where she claimed a surprisingly easy 6-3 6-1 win over Naomi Osaka. Bencic secured her spot in the final 4 for the first time in Indian Wells with a hard-fought 6-3 4-6 6-3 win over Karolina Pliskova.

Belinda Bencic holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Angelique Kerber at the tour level. However, Kerber has also beaten Bencic in the last couple of years at the Hopman Cup. Overall, the head-to-head record is 3-3 and Kerber has won their last 3 matches. Their most recent match was the Hopman Cup a few months ago where Kerber won 6-4 7-6.

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Angelique Kerber vs. Venus Williams, Indian Wells QF Preview

🇺🇸🌵 BNPPO19, Indian Wells – QF Preview
🇩🇪 (8) Angelique Kerber vs. 🇺🇸 Venus Williams

A blockbuster quarter-final clash from the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday evening sees Angelique Kerber take on Venus Williams, a match-up featuring two former world number 1’s and a combined 10 Grand Slam singles titles. Whilst the pair have both achieved so much, neither have previously won the title in Indian Wells, therefore we can assume both are hellbent on changing that fact over the next few days in the Californian desert.

Angelique Kerber of Germany in action during her fourth-round match at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Angelique Kerber has come through a couple of tricky matches to reach the quarter-final stage at Indian for the fourth time. Kerber received a bye through round 1 and started the event with a commanding 6-0 6-2 win over Yulia Putintseva before coming from behind to beat Natalia Vikhlyantseva 3-6 6-1 6-3. Kerber’s greater test came at the fourth round stage where she fought from a double break down in the deciding set to defeat Aryna Sabalenka 6-1 4-6 6-4.

Venus Williams has surpassed expectations this week given her mediocre form heading into the event. Williams started her BNP Paribas Open campaign with a lethargic 3 set win over Andrea Petkovic. It was in the second round that Williams dug deep and claimed her biggest scalp, Williams fought from a set and a break down to beat the third seeded Petra Kvitova 4-6 7-5 6-4. Venus has been relatively untroubled in her last few matches, beating Christina McHale and Mona Barthel in straight sets.

Kerber holds a 5-3 head-to-head record over Williams. The most recent match between the pair took place in Sydney last year, Kerber won that match 5-7 6-3 6-1. On hard courts, Kerber has a slight 3-2 head-to-head advantage.

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Karolina Pliskova vs. Anett Kontaveit, Indian Wells R4 Preview

🇺🇸🌵 BNPPO19, Indian Wells – R4 Preview
🇨🇿 (5) Karolina Pliskova vs. 🇪🇪 (21) Anett Kontaveit

A hard-hitting fourth round battle from the BNP Paribas Open sees the 5th seeded Karolina Pliskova take on the 21st seeded Anett Kontaveit. Pliskova rightfully heads into this clash as the favourite given her far greater form of late and her superior consistency. However, Kontaveit is a threat and should have her chances in this match.

Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in action during her third-round match at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Karolina Pliskova laboured her way through her opening round match in Indian Wells after receiving a bye through the first round. Pliskova was surprisingly forced to come from a set down to get past Misaki Doi, Pliskova eventually prevailed 6-7 6-1 6-1. Pliskova produced an improved performance in the third round where she beat Ysaline Bonaventure 6-3 6-2. Pliskova is likely to face her first real test in the next round against Kontaveit.

Anett Kontaveit has not had to play much tennis to make her way through to the fourth round in Indian Wells. Kontaveit received a bye through the first round before beating Monica Puig 6-3 7-6. Kontaveit received a lucky break in the third round as she was handed victory by an injured Anastasija Sevastova as the Estonian led the first set 5-0. Kontaveit has generally had a lacklustre season thus far and seemingly needs a big win such as a win over Pliskova to ignite her season.

It was Pliskova who won the only previous match between the pair, a 6-4 6-2 in Stuttgart last year.

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Naomi Osaka vs. Belinda Bencic, Indian Wells R4 Preview

🇺🇸🌵 BNPPO19, Indian Wells – R4 Preview
🇯🇵 (1) Naomi Osaka vs. 🇨🇭 (23) Belinda Bencic

Two of the WTA tour’s most in form players will collide in Indian Wells on Tuesday evening when Naomi Osaka comes up against Belinda Bencic. This match-up sees the world number 1, defending Indian Wells champion and reigning US Open / Australian Open champion take on a resurgent Belinda Bencic who is on a 10-match winning streak having arrived in Indian Wells fresh from winning the title in Dubai.

Naomi Osaka of Japan in action during her third-round match at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Naomi Osaka was under pressure heading into this event and there were some real question marks surrounding her title defense after she split with her coach a few weeks ago and lost her opening round match in Dubai. However, Osaka has made a strong start in Indian Wells. The world number 1 started the event with a 6-3 6-4 win over Kristina Mladenovic, avenging her loss to the Frenchwoman in Dubai last month. Osaka then went on to produce an impressive performance to blast her way past Danielle Collins 6-4 6-2, if she maintains that level she will be hard to beat this week.

Belinda Bencic has been totally untroubled in her first couple of matches in Indian Wells. Bencic started the event with a 6-4 6-1 win over Alison Van Uytvanck before defeating Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-4 6-2. Bencic is on a roll at the moment, momentum is certainly on Bencic’s side and she will need all of that positive energy when she takes on the world number 1 in the next round.

Osaka and Bencic have never met at the tour level before. They have previously played at the Hopman Cup last year where Bencic won in straight sets and at an ITF event in 2013 where Osaka won in straight sets, these previous results are mostly irrelevant. It will be interesting to see how their first tour level encounter unfolds.

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Angelique Kerber vs. Aryna Sabalenka, Indian Wells R4 Preview

🇺🇸🌵 BNPPO19, Indian Wells – R4 Preview
🇩🇪 (8) Angelique Kerber vs. 🇧🇾 (9) Aryna Sabalenka

The pick of the fourth round clashes from the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday sees Angelique Kerber take on Aryna Sabalenka for the very first time. This is an intriguing match-up that sees a 3-time Grand Slam champion and former world number 1 take on the tours most exciting young player who has already established herself in the top 10. Can the powerful Belarusian blast Kerber off the court?

Angelique Kerber of Germany in action during her third-round match at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Aryna Sabalenka has struggled in recent times to consistently produce the stunning level of tennis that she produced for much of 2018. The signs have been fairly good thus far Sabalenka in Indian Wells as she has booked her spot in the fourth round for the first time. Sabalenka received a bye through the first round before battling past Ajla Tomljanovic in 3 sets. Sabalenka secured her spot in the fourth round with a solid 6-2 7-5 victory over Lesia Tsurenko. Sabalenka will need to step up her level if she is to advance any further in the Californian desert as Kerber will be her first major test.

Angelique Kerber has made a decent start to the season and a decent start to her BNP Paribas Open campaign. Kerber will be hoping she can take things to the next level over the next week as she looks to win her first title of 2019 and her first title in Indian Wells. Kerber started the tournament with a commanding 6-0 6-2 victory over Yulia Putintseva before being really pushed in a 3-6 6-1 6-3 win over Natalia Vikhlyantseva, perhaps the battle Kerber needed to take her game to the next level this week.

This is a fascinating match-up because of the contrast in styles, especially given this will be the first meeting between the pair. Sabalenka is one of the most powerful and aggressive players at the top of the game whilst Kerber is the best counter-puncher on tour, this is the ultimate test for Sabalenka.

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Venus Williams vs. Mona Barthel, Indian Wells R4 preview

🇺🇸🌵 BNPPO19, Indian Wells – R4 Preview
🇺🇸 Venus Williams vs. 🇩🇪 Mona Barthel

The only fourth round match-up at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open that features two unseeded players sees Venus Williams come up against Mona Barthel. It has been a great tournament thus far for both Williams and Barthel, both have exceeded expectations with victories over more fancied opposition, who will keep their run alive and advance to the final 8?

Venus Williams of the United States in action during her second-round match at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

The pressure was on Venus Williams heading into this event. Williams has slipped back outside the top 30 in the rankings and was in danger of slipping further with an early exit in Indian Wells given she is defending semi-finalist points from last year. Venus has seemingly sensed the urgency to perform well and has produced some inspiring performances to reach the fourth round. Venus started the event with a scrappy 3 set win over Andrea Petkovic before causing a huge upset as she came from a set and a break down to defeat the third seeded Petra Kvitova 4-6 7-5 6-4. Williams secured her spot in the fourth round with a solid 6-2 7-5 win over Christina McHale.

Mona Barthel arrived in Indian Wells desperately out of form and just clinging on to a spot in the top 100 in the rankings. Barthel had not won back-to-back matches at the WTA tour level since Tashkent last year making her run to the fourth round in the Californian desert a special one. Barthel started her BNP Paribas Open campaign with a hard-fought 6-4 6-7 7-5 win over Lin Zhu before upsetting the 17th seeded Madison Keys 3-6 6-1 7-5. Barthel made it back-to-back upset victories as she defeated the 15th seeded Julia Goerges 7-5 1-6 6-4. The most impressive part of Barthel’s week thus far has been her ability to get over the line deep into a third set where she has held her nerve well, something she has struggled to do in the past.

Venus Williams holds perfect 3-0 head-to-head record over Barthel. All 3 of those victories were in straight sets, including a 6-3 7-5 victory at the 2017 Australian Open in their most recent match. Can an in-form Barthel flip the script this time around?

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Elina Svitolina vs. Ashleigh Barty, Indian Wells R4 Preview

🇺🇸🌵 BNPPO19, Indian Wells – R4 Preview
🇺🇦 (6) Elina Svitolina vs. 🇦🇺 (12) Ashleigh Barty

Elina Svitolina and Ashleigh Barty will renew hostilities on Tuesday at the BNP Paribas Open with a spot in the quarter-finals up for grabs. Svitolina has dominated this match-up, the Ukrainian has won all 4 of the previous meetings between the pair. Nevertheless, Barty is arguably in the best form of her career and will be very keen to finally grab a victory over Svitolina and more importantly reach the final 8 of a major event.

Ashleigh Barty of Australia in action during her third-round match at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Elina Svitolina will be trying to make the most of her second life in Indian Wells, over the next week, the Ukrainian could have easily been dumped from the tournament in her first match this week where she was forced to come from behind against an in-form Sofia Kenin to claim a 3-6 7-6 6-3 victory. Svitolina was again forced to work hard for her third round victory as she defeated Daria Gavrilova 7-5 6-4 in a tough contest.

Ash Barty is just one win away from securing a place in the top 10 for the first time. Barty has made a great start to the season, amassing a 14/3 win/loss record across all competitions. Barty has fairly comfortably moved through her first couple of matches at the BNP Paribas Open with straight set wins over Tatjana Maria and Jennifer Brady, Svitolina will be much greater test for Barty in the next round.

Svitolina holds a perfect 4-0 record over Barty. Svitolina has won the last 3 matches between the pair in straight sets, including a 7-5 6-4 victory in their most recent match in Miami last year. Can an in-form Barty finally pick up her first career win over Svitolina?

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Qiang Wang vs. Bianca Andreescu, Indian Wells R4 Preview

🇺🇸🌵 BNPPO19, Indian Wells – R4 Preview
🇨🇳 (18) Qiang Wang vs. 🇨🇦 (wc) Bianca Andreescu

Qiang Wang and Bianca Andreescu will go head-to-head for the first time with a spot in the BNP Paribas Open quarter-finals up for grabs. This is a huge opportunity for both players to reach the final 8 of premier mandatory event, who will step up and make the most of this opportunity?

Bianca Andreescu of Canada in action during her third-round match at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Qiang Wang has made a mediocre start to the season given her outstanding form towards the end of 2018. However, the recent signs have been better for Wang, perhaps she is rediscovering her late 2018 season form. Wang has had a good couple of weeks in Indian Wells, it all started a few weeks ago at the Indian Wells 125K event where she reached the semi-finals. Wang has claimed a few solid victories on route to the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open, a 7-6 6-2 win over Bernarda Pera followed by a gutsy 7-6 6-7 6-3 win against Elise Mertens.

Bianca Andreescu is in the best form of her career. The 18-year-old is quickly rising up the WTA rankings, she arrived in Indian Wells on the back of a semi-final showing in Acapulco which saw her rise to a career high ranking of 60, one more win for Andreescu this week and she will almost certainly break into the top 50. Andreescu started her BNP Paribas Open campaign with a surprisingly tough 6-7 6-3 6-3 win over Irina-Camelia Begu before cruising past Dominika Cibulkova and Stefanie Voegele in straight sets.

It will be interesting to see how Wang matches up against young Canadian in their first career meeting, especially with so much on the line, will youth or experience prevail?

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