Venus Edges Serena Williams in Indian Wells BNP Paribas Open

Annette Crawford
March 14, 2018

And sister Venus complemented her: "Her level was super high".

The last time the sisters faced each other was in January previous year, when Serena won the Australian Open, her 23rd Grand Slam singles title. But Serena cracked a backhand victor down the line for deuce.

"I really abhor every time we play, but I do enjoy the battle when I'm out there", Serena said last weekend. She saved a break point at 5-4 though with a potent serve into the body while another big serve clinched victory on a second match point. Venus' forehand was long and she double-faulted away the game to make it 5-3. I don't know how long Serena (and Venus, for that matter) has left at the top, but I wouldn't bet against her getting back on track.

It was obvious at the net when they greeted each other with a one-arm hug and neither smiled.

This was the first singles tournament of her comeback, and she arrived with no official ranking or seeding, resulting in this third-round clash with the eighth-seeded Venus.

A stone-faced Serena exited the court to cheers, pointing her right index finger in the air. It was good to play that and try to get into the rhythm and get into the swing again, ' said Serena.

My room for improvement is incredible.

Serena was back on the WTA Tour for the first time since ending a 14-month absence during which she gave birth to daughter Alexis Jr. and married Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, who sat courtside. But 36-year-old Serena was unseeded in this event.

Serena won her first two matches, while Venus received a first-round bye and won her opening match.

"I have a lot to improve on", she said.

Venus meanwhile was the more solid, striking 19 winners and 21 unforced errors in the tricky conditions of Indian Wells, where the balls zip through the air but then are tempered by a slow hard court.

That triggered ugly scenes, as their father Richard said he was racially abused by fans when Serena then played - and won - the final against Kim Clijsters. She came up short on some shots that she would have made in her prime. It was also their first duel at Indian Wells, 17 years after Venus pulled out of their semifinal with a knee injury.

Asked if playing Monday brought closure to what happened in 2001, seven-time grand slam champion Venus replied: "It never crossed my mind".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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