In Naomi Osaka, the 2018 BNP Paribas Open had seen a promising youngster fulfil her potential and announce herself as one of the best in the world. Within a year, she has risen to the top of the rankings and won two Grand Slam titles. Something similar is possibly brewing in this year’s BNP Paribas Open.
The eighteen-year-old Canadian Bianca Andreescu has lit up the tennis world with a brand of tennis that belies her age. Of course, she had played well in tournaments before coming to Indian Wells, but she has taken her tennis to a whole new level here. She has already won the most matches on the WTA circuit this year.
She has not only managed to reach the semi-finals, but has also done so with such ease that it is difficult to think of any player who could challenge her at the moment. Her straight set wins over seeded players like Dominica Cibulkova and Wang Qiang were quite impressive.
But the frightening ease with which she decimated the two-time Slam champion Garbine Muguruza in the quarter finals has served a notice to the tennis world. She rendered the Spaniard helpless and made her feel like a novice.
It is not just the fact that she let the Spaniard take only one game off her, but the manner in which she repeatedly dictated the play with her array of strokes, including some delectable drop shots that would have pleased the tennis aficionados all over the world.
Her semi-final opponent, the sixth seed Elina Svitolina will pose a different sort of challenge to the one posed by Muguruza. One of the major differences would be the court coverage of the Ukrainian which is far superior to that of Muguruza.
Having said that, unlike Andreescu, Svitolina’s journey has not been a smooth one. She has had to fight her way through to the semi-final stage, with three of her four matches having been decided in a third set.
What will be especially worrying for Svitolina is her lack of penetration on serve. She has already been broken a whopping twenty times in the tournament so far. Her second serve win percentage in the quarter finals against Marketa Vondrousova was at an abysmal 38%.
At the moment, it is the Canadian teen who seems primed to enter her first big tournament final.
Prediction: Bianca Andreescu to win in 3 SetsPublished 15 Mar 2019, 12:16 IST