??? 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.
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.