Tuesday, March 12, 2019 - Garbine Muguruza plays Kiki Bertens in the 4th round of the BNP Paribas Open in Stadium 1 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. (Michael Cummo/BNP Paribas Open)
Bianca Andreescu has been the talk of the women’s tournament.
A wild-card entry into the event courtesy of a breakthrough start to 2019, few could have predicted that she’d so brazenly consolidate the very hype that landed her directly into the main draw here in the first place. Four wins over quality players, including former world No. 4 Dominika Cibulkova and 18th seed Wang Qiang, have put her – amazingly – just three wins away from the trophy.
“I think confidence is almost everything for a player,” said Andreescu on the key ingredient to her success this season. “If you trust your shots, if you trust your game, good things always happen. I think that’s what’s happening with me right now.”
“I’m playing [Garbiñe] Muguruza tomorrow,” she remarked in awe of the level of competition she so suddenly finds herself at. “I have watched her play many times on TV, so it’s just crazy to think that I’ll be competing against her.”
Speaking of Muguruza, the two-time Grand Slam champion from Spain has quietly progressed through the draw. Seeded well below what she has been used to over the years at No. 20, she benefitted from a retirement from an under-the-weather Serena Williams in the third round before grinding her way past Kiki Bertens in a high-quality three-setter.
“Doesn’t matter at which stage of the year, but the fact that I keep playing top players and it’s always good,” assessed Muguruza. “That’s what I’m looking for. I gave myself another chance to play another match here and go deeper and deeper.”
The former world No. 1 is through to her first Premier Mandatory quarterfinal since the 2017 edition of the BNP Paribas Open. Somewhat surprisingly for a player of her caliber, Muguruza hasn’t reached a semifinal at this level of tournament since all the way back in 2015 at the Beijing Open.
Regarding her coming clash against Andreescu, the 25-year-old admitted she isn’t familiar with the young Canadian’s game, but won’t be taking her lightly.
“I think she’s playing very well since the start of this year,” said Muguruza. “I don’t know a lot about her. I think she’s – well, not around for a long time, so she’s starting to play better and better.
“I think she’s having more and more confidence, because she’s beating very good players. I think she has a strong physique and a good mover. Yeah, I will watch a little more.”
Both will have to do their homework on each other. With a spot in the biggest WTA semifinal in years for one – and ever for the other – on the line, no expense can be spared.