Venus Wins, Serena v Azarenka Friday At Indian Wells
by Staff | March 8th, 2019, 10:22 am
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The first big marquee showdown at Indian Wells takes place tonight as former champions, No. 1s, friends and moms, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka collide.

Serena leads their head-to-head 17-4 but Azarenka won at Indian Wells in the 2016 final.

“It’s obviously going to be a really difficult match,” Azarenka said. “It’s not a second-round match for sure. But it’s going to be a huge challenge, you know? We haven’t played for three years, we haven’t played since we both became moms, so it’s going to be a special one.

“She’s the toughest opponent out there, it’s no secret to anybody,” Azarenka added. “I always feel very inspired and motivated because of her – she pushes the limits and she pushes me to improve.”

Serena is playing her first match since her stunning collapse to Karolina Pliskova at the Australian Open.

Both players are 2-time Indian Wells champions. And it’s their first meeting as mothers.

Also, on the first day of seeded play in the women’s draw, Garbine Muguruza meets upset-minded American Lauren Davis. Sloane Stephens deals with Swiss qualifier Stefanie Voegele and Elina Svitolina faces Sonia Kenin.

Simona Halep is also on court.

For the men, the first round concludes with a number of Americas featured. Frances Tiafoe takes on the big Chilean Nicolas Jarry and Steve John faces Taylor Fritz.

Stan Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych are also on the schedule. And Novak Djokovic is in doubles play with Fabio Fognini against Jeremy Chardy-Milos Raonic.

Yesterday, the ageless Venus Williams got past Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 0-6, 6-3 in a battle of former Top 10s.

“It was good to be back here and have the crowd behind me,” Venus said. “[Petkovic] was really tough and consistent, tough to get any balls past her. I’m just happy things went my way in the third set. It got really close there.”

Venus will now meet Petra Kvitova on Saturday.

Americans Amanda Anisimova, Madison Brengle and Christina McHale were also winners.

Kirsten Flipkens outlasted Eugenie Bouchard 7-5 in the third.

The men’s draw opened with Leonardo Mayer coming through in two tiebreakers over Reilly Opelka.

A trio of Americans did advance as Sam Querrey, Marcos Giron and Bjorn Fratangelo won. Fratangelo will be Novak Djokovic’s first foe on Saturday.

Young Canadian teen Felix Auger-Aliassime earned his first Indian Wells victory.

STADIUM 1 11:00 Am
2nd Rd 20 Garbiñe Muguruza v (WC) Lauren Davis
Followed By
2nd Rd (Q) Stefanie Voegele v 4 Sloane Stephens
Followed By
1st Rd Taylor Fritz v Steve Johnson
Followed By
Not Before 6:00 Pm
2nd Rd Victoria Azarenka v 10 Serena Williams
Not Before 8:00 Pm
1st Rd Nicolas Jarry v Frances Tiafoe

STADIUM 2 11:00 Am
1st Rd Tomas Berdych v Feliciano Lopez
Followed By
1st Rd (Q) Daniel Evans v Stan Wawrinka
Followed By
2nd Rd Barbora Strycova v 2 Simona Halep
Not Before 6:00 Pm
1st Rd Mackenzie McDonald v Joao Sousa
Not Before 8:00 Pm
2nd Rd 6 Elina Svitolina v Sofia Kenin

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