In Serena Williams's Comeback, a Familiar Opponent: Venus

Chelsea West
March 14, 2018

Indian Wells: Serena Williams set up a mouth-watering Indian Wells third round showdown against her sister Venus with a straight-sets victory over Kiki Bertens on Saturday.

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", she said.

The first set then featured a tiebreak, where just one mini-break separated both players on the scoreboard as Bertens failed to capitalize on her chances, sending a second-serve return wide and therefore, gifting Williams the first set after 54 minutes of play.

"I'm really happy that I won this first-round match". I really abhor every time we play, but I do enjoy the battle when I'm out there.

Following the game, Williams admitted that she was a "little rusty". "It's just afterwards I don't like it as much".

On Monday, Serena and Venus will meet for the 29th time.

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After finding out she was playing her sister in the next round, Serena said: "I would prefer to play someone else, anybody else, literally anybody else, but it has to happen now".

Ekaterina Makarova of Russian Federation led 10th-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-3 when their match was stopped in the opening game of the second set with Kerber holding a break point.

Her victory was made all the more sweet by her being the returning hero at Indian Wells, a venue she and her sister, Venus, had boycotted until as recently as 2015, after reports of racism against their family and that notorious booing by the crowd in 2001, and by the fact that she gave birth in September.

In other matches Saturday, defending champion Elena Vesnina eliminated American CiCi Bellis 2-6, 6-1, 6-1; No. 4 seed Elina Svitolina beat Mona Barthel 6-4, 6-3; No. 12 Julia Goerges defeated Natalia Vikhlyantseva 6-4, 6-1; No. 27 Carla Suarez Navarro beat Su-Wei Hsieh 6-4, 2-6, 6-3; and No. 26 Daria Gavrilova dismissed Yanina Wickmayer 7-6 (3), 6-2.

In the men's competition, Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer won his first set against Federico Delbonis of Argentina. The match got suspended for the day due to rain.

Thiem moved through to a third-round meeting with 30th seed Pablo Cuevas, of Uruguay, who beat Canadian Denis Shapovalov 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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