Venus Williams On Course For Clash With Sister Serena

Lynette Rowe
March 12, 2018

Eighth seed Venus Williams moves into the third round of the BNP Paribas Open with a straight-set victory over No. 35 Romania's Sorana Cirstea.

The duo last met in the final of the 2017 Australian Open, where Serena edged pass Venus 6-4 6-4 to claim her 23rd Grand Slam singles title.

It was Venus' seventh appearance in the California desert, and third since 2001, after an absence of 15 years. But I have to play a seed regardless, sooner than later most times for the next couple of tournaments.

Williams will now face older sister Venus, whom she beat in the Australian Open decider at Melbourne Park past year.

Serena, who lifted her 23rd Grand Slam title in Melbourne previous year, was then already pregnant with daughter Alexis Olympia, who was born in September.

Serena Williams made an impressive return to court on Thursday, March 8, after winning against Kazakhstan's Zarina Diyas.

Serena dug deep to beat Dutch Kiki Bertens 7-6 (7-5) 7-5. "I call this a trial run, of traveling with the baby and all of this is just so new to me".

"She looked like she never lost a step", Venus said.

"My comeback could not have come on a better day and I decided I wanted to do something different let you all be a part of my long journey back", she added.

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It will be the 29th between the pair, with Serena leading the head-to-head record 17-11.

Caroline Wozniacki sailed through the round three with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Spain's Lara Arruabarrena. Following the tournament, the sisters boycott the tournament for the next 14 years before Serena entered in 2015.

This is the earliest they will face each other since that Melbourne meeting 20 years ago.

"I'm getting there. I have such a long way to go", the 23-time Grand Slam champion told reporters.

An increasing number of unforced errors started to creep into Diyas' game, having hit just five in the first set, giving Williams the upper hand to fire her fourth ace of the match and hold for 5-3 before seeing out the match.

The breaks continued to go back and forth, with the second set seeing four in a row by the time the scoreline reached 3-3.

Elina Svitolina and Carlone Garcia Advanced, and defending champion Elena Vesnina opened her title defense with a win over American CiCi Bellis.

Since reaching the US Open final past year, Keys has gone just 5-6 and last lost 3 of her last 4.

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