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All-Williams affair awaits, Wozniacki cruises

Still on the comeback trail, former world number one Serena Williams overcame 29th seed Kiki Bertens, with Venus up next.

NEWS
11 Mar 2018, 13:23 IST
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SerenaWilliams-cropped
Former world number one Serena Williams

It was all about the Williams sisters on Saturday after Serena set up a mouth-watering showdown with Venus at Indian Wells.

Still on the comeback trail, former world number one Serena Williams overcame 29th seed Kiki Bertens.

The result earned Serena a third-round berth against a familiar face – older sister Venus Williams, whom she will meet for the first time since claiming her 23rd grand slam title at the 2017 Australian Open.

Venus – the eighth seed – stayed on track with a straight-sets win over Sorana Cirstea.

Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki was a class above against Spanish opposition before the rain set in.

The rain may have spared two-time grand slam winner Angelique Kerber, who was trailing Ekaterina Makarova 6-3 when play was suspended.

Former world number one and dual Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka did not have a chance to step out on court for her clash with US Open titleholder Sloane Stephens.

 

SERENA DIGS DEEP

In the main draw of a WTA Tour tournament for the first time since last year's triumphant Australian Open campaign, Serena continues to show her fighting qualities.

After giving birth to her daughter in September, the 36-year-old stepped up her comeback with a hard-fought 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 victory on Saturday.

It was far from a perfect performance but it was enough to guarantee a 29th career meeting against Venus.

"I call this a trial run, you know. Even with the baby, like, a trial run of traveling with the baby and all of this is just so new to me. Yeah, I'm getting there," Serena said post-match.

 

VENUS ROLLS ON WITH EASE

The seven-time grand slam champion survived a tough first-up match but she made light work of Cirstea 6-3 6-4.

Venus targeted Cirstea's second serve, winning over 80 per cent, while she claimed six breaks throughout the routine victory.

The 37-year-old did face a tricky period in the second set, overturning a 3-1 deficit as she reeled off four straight games to help her advance.

Looking ahead to Serena, who holds a superior 17-11 head-to-head record, Venus said: "She's playing really well and just honing her game. When she's missing, it's not by much.

"Obviously I have to play better than her and see how the match goes. She looked like she never lost a step."

 

WOZNIACKI DEFLATES ARRUABARRENA

Lara Arruabarrena went toe-to-toe with the world number two on Saturday, proving to be an immovable force early.

But once she was broken in the 10th game of the first set, the Spaniard crumbled as Wozniacki powered to a 6-4 6-1 win.

Wozniacki reeled off six successive games after closing out the first set, though Arruabarrena managed to avoid a second-set bagel.

Aliaksandra Sasnovich is Wozniacki's next opponent at Indian Wells.

"I feel like I have nothing to prove to anyone or to myself anymore," said Wozniacki, who claimed her maiden major at Melbourne Park in January. "I can just go out there and enjoy it."

Elsewhere, fourth seed Elina Svitolina won in straight sets, Caroline Garcia – the seventh seed – eased past Jennifer Brady, while Madison Keys bowed out.

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