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Teen spirit: Andreescu, Kecmanovic win at Indian Wells
March 14, 2019
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — A couple of teenagers are shaking things up at the BNP Paribas Open.
Bianca Andreescu, an 18-year-old Canadian, routed two-time major champion Garbine Muguruza 6-0, 6-1 in 52 minutes Wednesday to reach the semifinals.
Miomir Kecmanovic, a 19-year-old Serb ranked 130th in the world, became the first lucky loser to reach the quarterfinals at Indian Wells since 1990, advancing when Yoshihito Nishioka retired in the second set.
The kids are all right, indeed.
Andreescu won the first nine games against Muguruza. The 20th-seeded Spaniard called for her coach trailing 4-1 in the second set. He urged her to “change something.”
“I felt like every time I was trying something different she was coming up with better shots,” Muguruza said. “She was keeping her high level all the time.”
Andreescu broke Muguruza at love and then served out the match after a deuce game, hitting consecutive forehand winners.
“I just went out there, went for it. I didn’t focus on who was on the other side,” Andreescu said. “It really helped me, and I used my serve to my advantage. She didn’t serve so well today, so I took advantage of that, as well.”
Andreescu has been stretched to three sets just once, in the first round. She then beat 32nd-seeded Dominika Cibulkova, Stefanie Voegele and No. 18 seed Wang Qiang before taking out Muguruza in her Indian Wells debut.
In the semifinals, the teenager will play sixth-seed Elina Svitolina, who beat Marketa Vondrousova 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Andreescu is the third wild card in tournament history to reach the semifinals. Serena Williams was the last in her return to the desert in 2015.
“It’s incredible what I’ve achieved the last couple months,” Andreescu said in an on-court interview. “I’m beyond grateful.”
She was runner-up at Auckland and made the semifinals in Mexico before coming to the desert.
“I just started playing these high-level events a year ago, and I think I’m gaining more and more experience after every match,” Andreescu said. “This year all the wins have definitely given me confidence.”
Born in Canada, Andreescu first took up tennis at age 7 in Romania, where her parents worked. The family moved back to Canada and by 11, she had joined the country’s national training program.
“I know she’s good, but 0 and 1, she destroyed her,” said Denis Shapovalov, who couldn’t keep Canada’s run going in a 7-6 (3), 2-6, 6-3 loss to Hubert Hurkacz.
“We grew up together. We started from the bottom together, so it’s amazing to see her doing so well.”
Kecmanovic is making history of his own.
He became the first lucky loser to reach the quarterfinals since the tournament achieved Masters 1000 status in 1990. The 27-year-old Serb got into the main draw when Kevin Anderson withdrew before his opening match with an elbow injury.
“It will be funny that somebody other than Novak is still in,” Kecmanovic said of top-ranked Djokovic, his famous countryman who was upset on Tuesday.
Nishioka retired after losing the first set 6-4, having first sought treatment on court.
Kecmanovic got another dose of luck when he received a wild card for next week’s tournament in Miami.
“I’m going to get a ticket because this is just nice,” he said, joking about buying a lottery ticket.
Kecmanovic next plays 13th-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic, who beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 6-3.
“It’s been a really positive time for Canadian tennis,” Raonic said, “and it’s been a real inspiration and joy for me to see the progress.”
Rafael Nadal defeated qualifier Filip Krajinovic 6-3, 6-4 and remains on track for a potential semifinal against five-time champion Roger Federer in the bottom half of the draw. The top half was rocked by the upsets of Djokovic and No. 3 seed Alexander Zverev.
“The difference between players is not huge. It’s small gaps,” Nadal said about the upsets. “Is true that for the last 10 years didn’t happen very often.”
Seeking a record sixth title at Indian Wells, Federer beat Kyle Edmund 6-1, 6-4 in 64 minutes in front of former greats Pete Sampras and Rod Laver.
“I was relieved I got through that one,” Federer said. “He’s got everything in the game. It’s just a matter of keeping improving, keep plugging away, and then he will make big results again. He knows that.”
Federer will face Hurkacz for the first time in the quarterfinals.
Krajinovic hadn’t dropped a set in winning his first three main-draw matches after two wins in qualifying to get into the $8.3 million event. But he couldn’t overcome Nadal, who lost his serve just once in the 1½-hour match in sunny and windy conditions.
“Probably played a little bit worse today than yesterday,” Nadal said. “Maybe because of the conditions.”
Next up for Nadal is Karen Khachanov, who beat John Isner 6-4, 7-6 (1).
Dominic Thiem defeated Ivo Karlovic 6-4, 6-3 and will play Gael Monfils, a 6-0, 6-2 winner of the late match against Philipp Kohlschreiber.
The upsets weren’t limited to the men’s draw. Naomi Osaka, the world’s top-ranked woman, also lost in straight sets a day earlier.
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