Bianca Andreescu beats Angelique Kerber to win Paribas Open
18-year-old claims 6-4 3-6 6-4 win to become youngest winner at Indian Wells since Serena Williams in 1999 and first wildcard champion in tournament history
Last Updated: 18/03/19 1:21pm
Teenage Canadian wildcard Bianca Andreescu capped a fairytale week to beat three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber and win the Paribas Open.
The 18-year-old pictured herself as the Indian Wells champion so many times during the tournament that actually winning it should have come as no great surprise but the Canadian wildcard was still stunned by Sunday's victory over Germany's Kerber.
Andreescu, who relies heavily on meditation and visualisation techniques to get her mental game in shape, had to dig deep against Kerber and trailing by a set in the decisive set found another gear late on to claim a thrilling victory.
She said she had visualised winning the tournament prior to the match, and despite playing with an injured right shoulder and cramp that much was evident in a moment that went viral when she told her coach just how much she wanted the biggest, and first, title of her fledgling WTA career.
"I did [visualise the victory]. Not only this morning but so many times," she told reporters at the winner's news conference.
"It's crazy to think that it became a reality today. After I spoke to my coach I just let it all out there.
"At that point I was really tired, so I went for my shots more, and that obviously worked. The next couple of games I did the same thing. And I just fought till the end, because physically I wasn't feeling too well."
Not being 100 percent fit is nothing new for Andreescu who missed six months in 2016 with stress fractures in her foot and was sidelined last year with back problems.
But having started the year outside the world's top 150 she is now up to a career high of 24 and boasts more wins (28) than any other player on the WTA Tour this year.
"A year ago, during this period, I had been struggling a lot with my tennis and with my body too. So it's crazy what a year can do," she added.
"I don't really want to focus on the future right now. I just want to enjoy this moment, because I don't want to take anything for granted."
Andreescu, who beat Garbine Muguruza and Elina Svitolina on route to the final, claimed the title on her fourth match point when Kerber netted a backhand. She broke Kerber three times in the third set, rallying from a 3-2 deficit to take four of the final five games.
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