Saturday, 23 June, 2018

Serena-Venus set up third-round clash

Victoria Azarenka Victoria Azerenka is making her return to action at Indian Wells
Kelvin Reese | 14 March, 2018, 06:19

Serena Williams set up a mouth-watering third round showdown against her sister Venus with a straight-sets victory over Kiki Bertens here at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament.

She'll be taking on sister Venus in the third round and talked about playing the opponent that she does not like playing: "She's had such a good year last year and playing fantastic tennis".

"She looked like she never lost a step", Venus said of her younger sister. Bertens then broke again and served for the first set at 5-4 but a titanic effort from Williams saw her fight back, and send it into a tie-break which she duly won on her third set point. "I definitely don't have a favorite match. I haven't played in a long time".

Following the game, Williams admitted that she was a "little rusty". "I'm just out here on this journey doing the best I can". "I would prefer to play someone else, anybody else, literally anybody else, but it has to happen now".

Serena, who gave birth to her first child six months ago, has not played a full tournament since the 2017 Australian Open when she was in the early stages of her pregnancy with daughter Alexis.

Controversy brewed in 2001 when the sisters were scheduled to meet in the semi-finals of Indian Wells but Venus withdrew, handing Serena a walkover. "It's just afterwards I don't like it as much".

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2017 ATP World Finals victor Grigor Dimitrov was stunned by Spain's Fernando Verdasco 6-7, 6-4, 3-6 to bow out.

Other second-round winners were No. 5 seed Karolina Pliskova, 7-6 (4), 6-1 over Irina-Camelia Begu; No. 6 Jelena Ostapenko stopped Belinda Bencic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1; No. 17 CoCo Vandeweghe defeated beat Kaia Kanepi 6-0, 7-6 (6); and Kristina Mladenovic edged Samantha Stosur 7-5, 7-5.

Defending champ Roger Federer's opening match was put on hold on Saturday when play was suspended after heavy rain swept through the California desert.

There were no such problems for fifth seed Dominic Thiem of Austria as he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

The Australian toughed it out in a first set tiebreaker before easing to a 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 victory.

The most surprising result of the day in the men's was third seed Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov's 6-7, 6-4, 6-3 defeat to unseeded Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco in this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event.

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