Thiem books final berth

GUTSY: Dominic Thiem of Austria returns during his semifinal win over Milos Raonic of Canada. AFP

Austria's Dominic Thiem defeated Milos Raonic 7-6 (7/3), 6-7 (3/7), 6-4 on Saturday to book a title clash with five-time champion Roger Federer at the ATP Indian Wells Masters.

Thiem, ranked eighth in the world, withstood 17 aces from the rangy Canadian, gaining the only break of the contest in the third set.

He'll fight for a maiden Masters 1000 title against Swiss great Federer. Federer, seeking a record sixth Indian Wells crown, reached the final when semifinal opponent Rafael Nadal withdrew from the tournament with a right knee injury.

Thiem, 25, has split four prior meetings with the 20-time Grand Slam champion 2-2. 

Andreescu eyes title

In the women's section, Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu will try to follow in footsteps of world number one Naomi Osaka on Sunday and cap a magical run with a first WTA title.

Andreescu grabbed a slice of history when she became the first wild card to reach the women's final in the California desert with her 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 victory over sixth-ranked Ukrainian Elina Svitolina.

It was her ninth win over a top-50 player this year and an astonishing 27th match win across all levels for a player who came through qualifying to reach her first WTA final at Auckland in January.

"It's incredible," beamed Andreescu, who recovered from 1-3 down in the third set to beat Irina-Camelia Begu in the first round then roared past Dominika Cibulkova and Stefanie Voegele in the second and third rounds with the loss of just seven games.

She then toppled 18th-seeded Wang Qiang before an impressive 6-0, 6-1 rout of former world number one Garbine Muguruza in the quarterfinals.

In Kerber, she'll be facing another former world number one, but the German hasn't won a title since claiming her third Grand Slam crown at Wimbledon last year.

She was shocked by unseeded American Danielle Collins in the round of 16 at the Australian Open, but as she's settled into a routine with a new coach Kerber reached the semifinals in Doha in February.

"I have learned a lot, especially in the last few tournaments after Australia," Kerber said, explaining that she'd made a conscious effort to narrow her focus to alleviate on-court pressure."

 

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Thiem books final berth

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