Indian Wells: Thiem Bests Federer, Andresscu Surprises Everyone

Dominic Thiem defeated Roger Federer 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 to win the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells.  It was Thiem’s first Masters 1000 title. Last year, Federer lost to Juan Martin Del Potro in the final in a third set tie-break  in 2018.

After splitting the first two sets, Thiem trailed Federer 5-4 in the third set before breaking Federer with a forehand winner to go up 6-5. Thiem then served out the match without much trouble.

Thiem has 2-2 record against Federer and had lost in his previous two ATP Masters 1000 finals. But the 25-year-old Austrian’s solid serve and goundstrokes held up well against Federer as it had throughout the tournament.

“It feels just unreal what happened in this 10 days during the tournament,” Thiem said. “I came from a really bad form in all categories, and now I’m the champion of Indian Wells. It feels not real at all. It was a great week, and I think also a very good final today. Just amazing that I got here, my first really big title.”

“He stayed cool under pressure there,” Federer said.

18-year old Canadian Bianca Andreescu became the first wildcard and the second youngest winner at Indian Wells with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4  win overAngelique Kerber.  The Andreescu story was one no one saw coming.

Andreescu knocked out four top-20 players during the two-week tournament, including an emphatic quarterfinals, a 6-0, 6-1 rout of two-time major champion Garbine Muguruza.

“The fricking champion of Indian Wells,” Andreescu said. “It’s crazy.”

“Hopefully this moment can be a great inspiration for many young athletes because, like I always say, if you believe in yourself, anything is possible,” Andreescu said in her on-court interview. “And like my mom always told me through the years, if you work hard, you dream big to get big, then you can accomplish so many things.

“That’s what I’ve been doing throughout many years, and now this moment has become a reality, so it’s really, really crazy.”

Andreescu is projected to move to No. 24 in the new WTA rankings.

Andreescu, who had made around $350,000 in her career before Sunday will leave Indian Wells with a $1.35M payday.

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Djokovic, Osaka Stunned at Indian Wells

Philipp Kohlschreiber defeated five-time Indian Wells champion and Wold Number 1, Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-4 in their third round match.  Kohlschreiber next plays Gael Monfils.

“I liked my chances more at night against Kohlschreiber, but it wasn’t to be last night,” Djokovic said. “Completely different conditions today. I congratulate him for playing tactically really well and getting me out of my comfort zone. He deserved to win.”

“I would say after 3-all in the first set I felt like getting closer to the set, holding my service games, which is not easy against Novak, because he’s such a great returner,” Kohlschreiber said. “I know from that point on it’s going to be a very interesting match.”

It was a bad day for seeded players. Sixth seed Kei Nishikori, No. 10 Marin Cilic and No. 14 Daniil Medvedev were also upset.

Women’s Number 1 Naomi Osaka lost to Belinda Bencic 6-3, 6-1 in just over an hour in the fourth round of the first title defense of her career.

“She sort of came out there really aggressive,” Osaka said. “She sort of knew what she wanted to do more than me.”

This was Osaka’s first tournament since hiring coach Jermaine Jenkins. “It’s always a bit tricky whenever you change someone in the team, but I feel like for a first tournament we did really well,” Osaka said. “We communicate well, so I think that’s a really big plus. I don’t think it’s going to be difficult.”

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