An 18-year-old Bianca Andreescu needed a wild card to enter the Indian Wells draw directly and she surely knew how to get the most from it, toppling the 5th seed Elina Svitolina 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 in two hours and 12 minutes for the biggest final in a career.
Bianca is the first player born in 2000 in the final of the Premier Mandatory event and also the first player in the history of Indian Wells to do so with a wild card, entering the top-35 and moving towards the very top of the women's tennis.
Almost nothing could separate Andreescu and Svitolina on the court, with the Canadian winning just two points more overall, fending off 13 out of 19 break points and securing six breaks of serve, two of those in the decider to push herself over the finish line.
Elina kicked off the match in the best possible way, breaking Bianca twice to open a 3-0 lead before the youngster found her range, rattling off four straight games to move 4-3 up with a backhand crosscourt winner in the seventh game.
A forehand winner secured another break for Andreescu a few minutes later and she grabbed the opener with another one in game nine, moving 6-3 ahead with six straight games and massive momentum on her tally. Svitolina started to play better on the return in set number two, stealing 60% of the points behind Bianca's initial shot and scoring three breaks for a 6-2, becoming a favorite before the decider.
Andreescu was ready to fight for every point, though, breaking Elina at the start of the decider before the Ukrainian erased the deficit with a break in game six to level the score at 3-3. A forehand return winner sent Bianca 4-3 ahead and she defended three break points in the following game to open a 5-3 advantage and move closer to the finish line.
Svitolina saved a match point in the ninth game when Andreescu's backhand landed long and she had the opportunity to prolong the match, with three break chances up for grabs in game ten. Bianca stayed focused to repel them all, converting the fourth match point after a loose forehand from Svitolina to celebrate another huge win and move into the final.
In a far less exciting match, the 8th seed Angelique Kerber took down an in-form Belinda Bencic 6-4, 6-2 in 67 minutes for the place in the 29th WTA final and the first since Wimbledon last year. This was the fifth encounter between the two and the second straight win for Kerber who lost serve four times but grabbed no less than seven breaks to erase that deficit, winning 60% of the return points against the rival who had nothing more left in the tank after a great couple of weeks she enjoyed.
The Swiss opened the match with a break before losing serve at love in game four after a double fault, bringing Kerber back to the positive side of the scoreboard. A backhand down the line winner sent Belinda 3-2 up and she fired a service winner for a hold at 15 in game six and even a more significant advantage.
The problem is, that was all we saw from the youngster in the opener as Angelique claimed four straight games to steal the first set 6-4. She broke back in game eight following a backhand error from Belinda and clinched the set with another break in game ten, building the momentum before the rest of the encounter.
The second set offered five breaks in the opening six games and it was the German who controlled the pace of the scoreboard, delivering four easy breaks and moving into the final when Belinda hit a double fault in game eight.