World No. 1 Serena Williams kept the top ranking clean Friday night as nine seeded players were ousted on the day at Indian Wells, including her sister Venus.
Serena in the final women’s match of the night defeated Germany’s Laura Siegemund 6-2, 6-1, avoiding a night of upsets.
“I think my intensity was the key,” Serena said on court after the match. “I knew if I didn’t come out 100 percent it would be a tough match.”
The world No. 1 will next meet Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva who upset No. 27 Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 6-4.
The No. 10-seeded Venus fell in the opening match of her 15-year absence from Indian Wells 6-4, 6-3 to Japanese qualifier Kurumi Nara. Swirling winds, a rain delay and a boatload of unforced errors were the elder Williams sister’s undoing.
“It was enough of a fairy tale to come here and play,” she said in her post-match press conference. “A win would have been nice, but that means I have to come back and play next year. I would definitely love to come back.”
Other players on the upset tip Friday were Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova toppling No. 11 Lucie Safarova 6-3, 6-4; the Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko defeating No. 15 Sara Errani 6-4, 6-3; American Coco Vandeweghe ousting No. 16 Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-3; Czech Barbora Strycova coming from a set down to beat No. 22 Andrea Petkovic 5-7, 6-4, 7-5; American qualifier Nicole Gibbs beating No. 23-seeded countrywoman Madison Keys 6-3, 6-3; Ukraine qualifier Kateryna Bondarenko outlasting No. 24 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-7(7), 6-4; and Swede Johanna Larsson coming from a set down to beat No. 29 Sabine Lisicki 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.
Vandeweghe will go from beating a former world No. 2 to facing a former world No. 1 in No. 19 seed Jelena Jankovic, who beat German Carina Witthoeft 6-1, 6-3.
Top 10 seeds into the third round Friday were No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska holding back Dominika Cibulkova 6-3, 3-6, 7-5; No. 5 Simona Halep rolling Vania King 6-1, 6-1; and No. 8 Petra Kvitova surviving an encounter with Danka Kovinic 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(5).
“Playing Dominika in the second round, my first match, is obviously the toughest draw I could have,” said Radwanska, who was down 2-5 in the third and fought off a match point. “She doesn’t have the ranking she should. She’s definitely a Top 20 player, and I’m so happy I could come back in that third set and win the match.”
Radwanska will next meet No. 32 seed Monica Niculescu, who on Friday fought past Brit wildcard Heather Watson 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.
Halep will next face No. 30 Ekaterina Makarova, who was a 6-4, 6-4 winner over Lucie Hradecka.
Saturday’s highlights in Indian Wells include (21) Sloane Stephens vs. Genie Bouchard, (14) Ana Ivanovic vs. Camila Giorgi, (13) Victoria Azarenka vs. Zarina Diyas, and (26) Sam Stosur vs. Yanina Wickmayer. Also in action Saturday are No. 2 Angie Kerber, No. 4 Garbine Muguruza, No. 7 Belinda Bencic, and No. 20 Caroline Wozniacki.
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