Serena, who lifted her 23rd Grand Slam title in Melbourne last year, was then already pregnant with daughter Alexis Olympia, who was born in September. Venus did her part to set up the marquee match when she dismantled world No. 35 Sorana Cirstea 6-3, 6-4 in just 79 minutes. Serena then took center stage, needing just under two hours to dispatch Bertens, of the Netherlands, 7-6 (7/5), 7-5.
Venus-Serena.— BNP Paribas Open (@BNPPARIBASOPEN) March 11, 2018
A 29th meeting.
The 3R of the #BNPPO18.
Their earliest at an event since the '98 Aus Open.
When they played each other for the very, very first time.
We can't wait. Can you? pic.twitter.com/d5XKPHhpsm
"I mean, she looked like she never lost a step," Venus said of her younger sister. "Great way to come back." Serena, 36 and vying to become the first woman to win three Indian Wells titles, clinched the victory against Bertens on her second match point when Bertens blasted a forehand wide. Ser
On the tennis front , Serena and Venus will play each other Monday at Indian Wells pic.twitter.com/NaTzEPRwbTMarch 11, 2018
ena won 54 percent of her second-serve points and broke Bertens's serve six times. Still showing some rust from her long layoff, Serena hit just one ace and made 37 unforced errors to 32 for Bertens. She takes a career head-to-head record over Venus of 17-11 into their third-round clash. They met for the first time in the second round of the 1998 Australian Open which Venus won 7-6 (7/4), 6-1. This is the earliest they will face each other since that Melbourne meeting 20 years ago. Serena, unseeded in the wake of her long layoff, admitted she would have preferred not to come up against her sister so soon in the draw. "It's a huge difference to play her in the semi-finals or even the quarter-finals or a final as opposed to the third round. You know, we can always stay in the tournament longer if the both of us are in the tournament," Serena said. In 2001 they were slated to meet in the Indian Wells semi-finals when Venus withdrew, handing Serena a walkover. Fans who felt cheated of a chance to see the siblings play, thinking it was a tactic orchestrated by their father Richard, booed Serena during her final triumph against Kim Clijsters. The crowd's treatment led to a 14-year boycott by the sisters, which Serena finally ended in 2015. This is just her third appearance in the California desert in 17 years. Asked about the semi-final match that never happened, Serena said she has tried to forget. "That's totally gone out of my mind," she said. "First of all, 17 years ago seems like forever ago."
On she walks.— BNP Paribas Open (@BNPPARIBASOPEN) March 11, 2018
Two-time champion Serena Williams beats Kiki Bertens 7-6(5) 7-5 in a hard-fought affair on Stadium 1.
What awaits: A 3R blockbuster with big sister Venus #BNPPO18 pic.twitter.com/zx48RpdU3x
Venus is enjoying a resurgence on the Tour after a string of injuries limited her playing time for several seasons. "I still have a lot to give. I don't think my dad wants me to ever stop playing," the 37-year-old, seven-time Grand Slam champion said. Venus won 61 percent of her first-serve points and broke Cirstea's serve six times.
Indian Wells 2001: Serena Williams vs Venus Williams. Venus forfeits mins before match. Serena jeered by crowd in final— Express Sports (@IExpressSports) March 11, 2018
Serena, Venus boycott tournament thereafter.
Indian Wells 2015: Serena ends boycott
Indian Wells 2018: Serena vs Venus in 3rd roundhttps://t.co/1iYeJgoikU