The comeback of Serena Williams, 36, continued with a victory over world No. 29 Kiki Bertens at the BNP Paribas Open here.
Fourteen months after her last tournament, the 23-time Grand Slam champion has won her second match of the WTA Premier Mandatory event in straight sets, beating Bertens 7-6 (5), 7-5 in less than two hours on Saturday, reports Xinhua news agency.
Serena Williams now faces her elder sister Venus Williams, who has won over No. 35 Romania’s Sorana Cirstea on the same afternoon. The two will meet in the third round.
“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,” Venus told the media after her victory.
Unseeded Serena beat Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan in the opening round, a round that she would normally skip.
Serena, who gave birth to her first child six months ago, has not played a full tournament since the 2017 Australian Open when she was in the early stages of her pregnancy with daughter Alexis.
The new mom is aiming to become the first woman to win three singles titles in Indian Wells, adding to her trophies from 1999 and 2001.
No woman has won more than twice in Indian Wells ever. And Williams isn’t alone. Two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka (2012, 2016) will also chase for a record third title in the desert.
Australian Open champion and current world No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki is chasing her first Indian Wells title in seven years. No. 1 seed Simona Halep has won a title at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in 2015.