Serena sets up blockbuster clash with Venus

Serena sets up blockbuster clash with Venus

Serena sets up blockbuster clash with Venus

That record includes a walkover victory for Serena at Indian Wells in 2001, when Venus pulled out minutes before their scheduled semi-final citing a knee injury.

Indian Wells: Serena Williams set up a mouth-watering Indian Wells third round showdown against her sister Venus with a straight-sets victory over Kiki Bertens on Saturday. But Indian Wells has had to wait, and this duel comes at a unique moment in the sisters' careers with Serena, a 23-time Grand Slam singles champion, unseeded and unranked after her long layoff but clearly still a threat after defeating Zarina Diyas and Bertens in the first two rounds without losing a set.

There was conjecture that her withdrawal had been a family arrangement and Russia's Elena Dementieva said after her quarter-final loss to Venus that she believed the sisters' father and coach, Richard Williams, decided who would win their matches.

The sisters will resume their longtime rivalry on Monday.

In Serena's last tournament before maternity leave, she defeated Venus in the final of the 2017 Australian Open.

Defending champ Roger Federer's opening match was put on hold Saturday when play at the Indian Wells ATP Masters was suspended after heavy rain swept through the California desert.

Serena, who is returning to the sport after taking more than a year away for the birth of her first child, was ragged at times but used her power to wear down her Dutch opponent.

Carla Suarez Navarro (27) of Spain beat Taiwan's Su-Wei Hsieh 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 while Australia's Daria Gavrilova (26) dismissed Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer 7-6 (3), 6-2.

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"Obviously I wish it was anybody else in the draw, literally anybody, but that's okay".

"I'm getting there. I have a long way to go".

Fifteenth seeded Madison Keys failed to get past world No. 117 Danielle Collins 6-3, 7-6 (1). The No. 15 seed was mistake-prone throughout the second-round match, committing five unforced errors in the tiebreaker.

It was far from a flawless performance but former world number one Serena managed to outlast Kiki Bertens 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 Saturday.

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.

Austrian fifth seed Dominic Thiem beat Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

No. 30 Pablo Cuevas beat Denis Shapovalov 7-6 (4), 6-3.

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