The 2019 Indian Wells tournament will conclude with both the men's and women's finals on Sunday. Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem will battle following the conclusion of the contest between Angelique Kerber and Bianca Andreescu.
The first match of the day will start at 1 p.m. PST/4 p.m. ET/8 p.m. GMT.
Federer received a bye into the final after Rafael Nadal pulled out of their semi-final clash, and he will take on a surging Thiem who has given the veteran plenty of challenges in the past.
Sports writer Nick McCarvel shared how the 37-year-old responded to the news of Nadal's exit:
Federer says Nadal texted him to tell him he was pulling out of the #BNPPO19. "It's a big letdown," Rog says. "I'm excited to be in the final, but not this way... I was looking forward to it. I'm sorry it didn't happen"— Nick McCarvel (@NickMcCarvel) March 16, 2019
Thiem and Federer have faced each other four times, with both men winning two contests. The Austrian has never beaten Federer on a hard court but has made massive strides on the surface.
He impressed in his semi-final win over Milos Raonic to qualify for his first Masters 1000 final, thanks in large part to his spectacular play in the rallies. Thiem barely hit unforced errors, making Raonic chase the ball for large stretches of the contest.
His sudden great form comes as something of a surprise:
Never in doubt that Thiem would reach his biggest hardcourt final after starting the season with 3 wins and 4 losses.— José Morgado (@josemorgado) March 16, 2019
Gotta love tennis.
The 25-year-old has built something of a reputation as a clay specialist in recent years, but his game has translated well to the slower courts at Indian Wells. Federer has mastered these courts like few others, however, winning five titles.
He should also have the fresher legs despite being the older man, as Thiem had to dig deep against Raonic.
In the women's final, Kerber will face an unlikely obstacle on the path to her biggest title since last year's Wimbledon tournament, as she takes on qualifier Andreescu.
The 18-year-old rising star upset Elina Svitolina in the semi-finals, continuing what has been an incredible season:
🇨🇦 (60) Bianca Andreescu defeats 🇺🇦 (6) Elina Svitolina 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 to advance to the championship match at Indian Wells— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) March 16, 2019
No better story in Canadian sports right than the 18-year-old phenom from Mississauga
Started the season No. 152 ... now projected to move up to No. 33
The teenager has become a fan favourite in short time and should have the backing of the crowd for the final. Her win over Svitolina was a gritty one, but she will face an even greater challenge from Kerber.
The German worked her way past Belinda Bencic by doing what she does best: dominating from the base line. Her raw power in the rallies is major weapon, but Andreescu could counter with great all-around play, as tennis writer Christopher Clarey explained:
My closer look at Bianca Andreescu, a teenager ahead of schedule whose varied all-court game is enough to give tennis purists goose bumps but whose open personality and fighting spirit should speak to a wider audience, too https://t.co/UHwqOK1uwT— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) March 16, 2019
Kerber has the clear edge in experience and has a tendency to step up her game on the biggest stage, winning three of four career Grand Slam finals.
Predictions: Federer and Kerber pull through and overwhelm their respective opponents.