Serena Williams to play Venus in Indian Wells third round

Serena Williams Wins First Comeback Match 14 Months After Welcoming Daughter

The 23 time Grand Slam victor Serena, playing her first tournament for 14 months following the birth of her child, beat Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands by a 7-6, 7-5 scoreline in her second round match at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden to set up the tie with her older sister and eighth seed Venus.

"She looked like she never lost a step", she said. As she reminded a journalist at Wimbledon in 2016, when asked if she would go down as one of the greatest female athletes of all time: "I prefer the words "one of the greatest athletes of all time".

"I'm really happy that I won this first-round match. I haven't played in a long time".

The two players were then tied at two games each in the second set before play was called off for rain.

"It definitely felt better than the first round, but I'm still a little rusty". Serena has a 17-11 head-to-head lead.

"Obviously I wish it was anybody else in the draw, literally anybody, but that's okay", she said. "It's just afterwards I don't like it as much".

But when Richard Williams and Venus Williams arrived at the stadium two days later to watch Serena Williams play the 2001 final against Kim Clijsters, they were met with a chorus of boos from the crowd of almost 16,000 as the father and his daughter walked down the stairs to their courtside seats.

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Fourth seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine beat Germany's Mona Barthel 6-4, 6-3 while compatriot and No. 12 seed Julia Georges defeated Russia's Natalia Vikhlyantseva 6-4, 6-1.

Serena Williams was ragged at times but used her power to wear down the Dutch 29th seed in Indian Wells, California.

Serena Williams, of the United States, waves and leaves the court after defeating Zarina Diyas, of Kazakhstan, during the first round of the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament in Indian Wells, Calif., Thursday, March 8, 2018.

Williams served for the match at 5-4 and was down 15-40 while serving for the match again at 6-5, before she prevailed in one hour 53 minutes.

In other matches on Saturday, defending champion Elena Vesnina was made to work against American CiCi Bellis, losing the first set before coming back strongly to win 2-6, 6-1, 6-1.

Fifth-seeded Dominic Thiem defeated teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in a second-round match.

On the men's side, No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov was upset by Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3 and No. 16 Fabio Fognini went down against Jeremy Chardy 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4.

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