INDIAN WELLS, California – Bianca Andreescu had believed herself a master many times.
Now it's true.
The 18-year-old Canadian who practices visualization every morning disturbs three-hour major champion Angelique Kerber 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 to win the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday, become the first wild card winner and second-youngest to to claim the title in tournament history.
"The fresh master of Indian Wells," said Andreescu. "It's crazy."
She overcame nerves, fatigue, arm and leg problems in the final set to earn the first title of her exciting career.
Andreescu won on his fourth match point when Kerber net a backhand. She broke Kerber three times in the third set, rallying from a 3-2 deficit to take four of the last five games.
Andreescu dropped her racket near the baseline and fell on her back, her legs in the air as she covered her face in disbelief. After standing up and exchanging kisses with Kerber, the teenager bent down and kissed the sunbathing hard court and fell to her back again, her arms and legs spreading before she grabbed her head.
"This moment has become a reality, so it's really, really wild," Andreescu told the audience before he spoke a little Romanian.
Born in Canada, she later moved with her parents to Romania, where she began playing tennis.
Kerber was the last of five grafted players Andreescu knocked out in his seven games.
"When she had the chances, she just went to it," Kerber said.
The Canadian followed in the footsteps of Naomi Osaka, who was a little known 20-year-old when she won the title last year. Osaka used it as a springboard to win titles in the US and Australian opens while increasing to the No. 1 ranking in January.
"No pressure," said Andreescu, funny.
She is expected to climb 36 places for No. 24 in the WTA Tour rankings on Monday.
Kerber, ranked eighth, remains without title since wins Wimbledon last year.
She was a favorite among the crowds, with fans waving Canadian flags and chanting "Let's go, Bianca! Let's go" in the second set.
They clearly enjoyed Andreescu's fearless gameplay. She alternately switched opponents from the baseline, threw high-flexing shots and freed-up drop shots – usually under the same point.
A smiling Andreescu was quick to fix a reporter.
"It's not moonballing," she said. "It just hit hard on her backhand with more spin. We're not under 12 here."
Her most dominant victory in the 12-day tournament came in the quarter-finals, a 6-0, 6-1 route for two-time major champion Garbine Muguruza. In total, the teenager beat four top 20 players.
Leading 2-1 in third, Andreescu took a medical timeout and had a coach massage his tight right shoulder and arm.
Kerber won the next two games and beat Andreescu to go up 3-2.
Andreescu got tired and nervous and urged her coach, who encouraged her to play Kerber every single point.
She just did.
Andreescu won the next three games, ripping off heavy forehand while winning nine equal points during a stretch, including a 40 love game.
"I fought right to the end because I didn't physically feel too good," she said.
The coach came back to ice cream Andreescus cramps.
The teenager had three fights on her before trying one of her patented dropshots. Kerber drove to get it and sent a forehand down the line to deuce.
The German led 40-add at Andreescu's forehand mistake before the teenage made a low percent attempt at a drop shot. It landed in the net and left Kerber 5-4.
"At the end, I wasn't able to take my chances, but she did," Kerber said.
Andreescu jumped back and struck a hug to put his fourth match point before Kerber's backhand error ended it after 2 hours and 18 minutes.
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