ibusinesslines.com March 17, 2018

Serena Williams started after 15 months break

13 March 2018, 06:05 | Kelvin Horton

Venus Williams moves into third round at BNP Paribas Open

Venus and Serena Williams

Women: Seconds round: Venus Williams bt Sorana Cirstea 6-3, 6-4; Serena Williams bt Kiki Bertens 7-6 (5), 7-5; Carla Suarez bt Hsieh Su-Wei 6-4, 2-6, 6-3; Elina Svitolina bt Mona Barthel 6-4, 6-3; Caroline Wozniacki bt Lara Arruabarrena 6-4, 6-1.

It will be their earliest meeting since the sisters' first match in the series, a straight-sets victory by Venus in the second round of the 1998 Australian Open.

The fans' reaction in California came after Venus pulled out of her semifinal with Serena just before the tussle, citing a knee injury.

That this is Indian Wells, a tournament that holds plenty of history for the Williams sisters, makes it an even more loaded contest.

Serena chose to return in 2015, whilst Venus came back to Indian Wells in 2016.

Monday's meeting will be the 29th between the pair, with Serena leading 17-11.

"I literally didn't even think about it", Serena replied, when asked whether she was happy the match would finally get to take place. There is obviously some rust for arguably the greatest to ever do it, but to win back-to-back matches without dropping a set is a fairly astounding feat for someone playing for the first time in 14 months. I have a long way to go.

"That's, you know, totally gone out of my mind", she said. "Seventeen years seems like forever ago". "We can always stay in the tournament longer if the both of us are in the tournament".

Five-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova is a five-time finalist in Miami but has never won the tournament.

Venus won 61 percent of her first-serve points and broke Cirstea's serve six times.

Fifth-seeded Dominic Thiem fired 10 aces to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 6-2, 3-6, 6-3; No. 7 Kevin Anderson defeated Evgeny Donskoy 7-5, 6-4; and No. 12 Tomas Berdych rolled past German Maximilian Marterer 6-1, 6-4 in just over an hour.

Defending champion, Elena Vesnina of Russian Federation also moved into the third round after she beat American Catherine Bellis 2-6 6-1 6-1.

In her third round match, she'll face an opponent, who's all too familiar and someone she loathes to fight against, especially at this stage of the tournament.

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