Serena sets up Indian Wells showdown with sister Venus
Serena sets up Indian Wells showdown with sister Venus
Victoria Azerenka is making her return to action at Indian Wells
14 March, 2018, 06:20
"It's been over a year and a kid later and I get to go home to her now, and I'm excited about that". "I mean, she looked like she never lost a step", Venus said of her younger sister.
On International Women's Day, Serena Williams won against Zarina Diyas in her first singles match on the WTA tour since she nabbed victory at the Australian Open while pregnant in 2017.
And the 36-year-old backed that up with a battling display, which lasted nearly two hours against the spirited Dutchwoman, despite tallying 34 unforced errors.
Her power to inspire now seems as inbuilt as her backhand, as she showed even on her brief time away, when she used her nightmarish experience of childbirth to campaign for greater awareness of the fact that black women in the United States are three times more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes and that women in many nations lack access to proper maternity care.
"Everything is a bonus", Serena explained after the second-round fixture, but added she "would prefer to play someone else, anybody else, literally anybody else" rather than her sister.
The 37-year-old American reached the third round where she will face either Serena or Dutch player Kiki Bertens, who followed Venus on stadium court.
Williams started with a love hold but the veteran was broken in the third game when she sloppily netted a forehand. "You know, we can always stay in the tournament longer if the both of us are in the tournament", Serena said.
The Williams sisters have set up a highly anticipated encounter at Indian Wells, where they have never faced off before. "So it's definitely a lot easier to play later on". But I have to play a seed regardless, sooner than later most times for the next couple of tournaments, so I have to be ready. Fans who felt cheated of a chance to see the siblings play, thinking it was a tactic orchestrated by their father Richard, booed Serena during her final triumph against Kim Clijsters.
Venus won 61 percent of her first-serve points and broke Cirstea's serve six times. "When she's missing, it's not by much".
Williams served unsuccessfully for the match at 5-4 in the second set, then rebounded to win the final two games, rallying from 15-40 on her serve to close out the victory by winning a series of extended rallies.
"I'm really happy that I won this first-round match".
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We'll get our next look at how Serena's progressing in her next tournament, 2018's WTA Miami which begins on March 19. The 20-time Grand Slam champion said the sisters' story has been fascinating for him to follow from the very start.
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