No. 8 seed Venus Williams beat her unseeded sister Serena 6-3, 6-4 to cap another eventful day on Monday at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
Still coming up to speed after the birth of her first child, Serena was a step slow and, while fighting off match points in the second set and coming within a game of making a comeback from a break down, was generally at the mercy of her 37-year-old sister.
“[Serena's] level is super-high and it was very difficult to close out the match, just getting one ball back,” Venus lauded her sister in her post-match press conference. “I think just I have played more matches in the last year. Even though I haven’t even played that much this year, the matches in the last year count.”
Venus will next face No. 21 seed Anastasija Sevastova, who on Monday upset No. 12 Julia Goerges 6-3, 6-3.
Other upset-minded players Monday in the desert were No. 27 Carla Suarez Navarro ousting No. 4 Elina Svitolina 7-5, 6-3, and No. 20 Daria Kasatkina continuing the misery of No. 13 Sloane Stephens, beating the reigning US Open champion 6-4, 6-3.
Other Top 10-seeded winners were No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki outlasting Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-4, 2-6, 6-3; No. 7 Caroline Garcia defeating No. 26 Daria Gavrilova 7-5, 6-4; and No. 10 Angelique Kerber beating No. 24 seed and defending champion Elena Vesnina 7-5, 6-2.
“I was struggling finding my rhythm,” said Wozniacki, who quickly went down 0-3 in the first set. “I didn’t really feel comfortable out there today. Didn’t really get my game going the way I wanted to. She made it difficult, as well. She was taking the ball early, and especially the backhand, she was redirecting it really well.”
American wildcard Danielle Collins was a 6-4, 6-4 winner over Sofya Zhuk, and will move into the Top 100 on the WTA rankings next week.
Highlights on deck Tuesday in Indian Wells are Simona Halep vs. Qiang Wang, Venus Williams vs. Sevastova, Garcia vs. Kerber, American wildcard Amanda Anisimova vs. Karolina Pliskova, Wozniacki vs. Kasatkina, and Collins vs. Suarez Navarro.
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