Venus Williams brought her sister Serena’s comeback after 14-months off, to an abrupt halt in the third round of the Indian Wells for what was her first win over her younger sibling in four years. The last time they met, Serena defeated her to claim the Australian Open title whilst pregnant which was also the last occasion she was seen on the main tour as she took time off to concentrate on the safe delivery of her first-born and motherhood.
I'm just lucky that I've played more matches than her right now Venus Wiliams
The eighth seed won 6-3 6-4 but was kept on court for 90-minutes by the unseeded former world No.1 with 23 grand slam titles to her credit.
“I’m just lucky that I’ve played more matches than her right now,” Venus told the packed crowd following her win which increases her wins over her sister to 12 in 29 meetings.
“I definitely know her well, but she definitely played a little bit better than she normally does,” Serena said. “She served very consistently. She just did everything great.’
“It’s different, I haven’t played in over a year. It’s definitely not less disappointing, I wish it was. But then I wouldn’t be who I am. … I just have a long way to go and I look forward to the journey,” she added.
Venus closed out the match on her second match point when Serena erred with her forehand service return, one of her 41 unforced errors, including 17 on the forehand side.
Venus broke Serena at love in the sixth game for a 4-2 lead in the first set and raced
raced into a 3-0 lead in the second and despite losing her first match point in the eighth game held on to secure her place in the fourth round.
“Missing shots that I never miss, and so close,” Serena reflected. “At least they’re in the margin. I’m getting there. It’s not exactly where I want to be, but I’ll get there eventually.”
In other action the US Open champion Sloane Stephens, seeded 13, suffered another early defeat Losing to the 20th seed Daria Kasatkina of Russia 6-4 6-3.
Stephens though remained optimistic. “I mean, not going to be too down about it. There’s always next week and the week after,” she said.
The second seeded Caroline Wozniacki, playing her 12th consecutive Indian Wells, outlasted Aliaksandra Sanovich of Belarus 6-4 2-6 6-3 for her 31st career match win at the event which she has won in 2011 and been runner-up twice.
The highest-seeded player to lose Monday was No. 4 Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine, who was beaten 7-5 6-3 by 27th-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain. Also losing was the 12th seed Julia Goerges of Germany, going out to Latvia’s 21st seeded Anastasija Sevastova 6-3 6-3.
The seventh seed Caroline Garcia of France beat 26th-seeded Daria Gavrillova of Australia 7-5 6-4; Angelique Kerber (10) of Germany defeated Elene Vesnina (24) of Russia 7-5 6-2; and American Danielle Collins continued her run with a 6-4 6-4 win over fellow wild card Sofya Zhuk of Russia.