Serena sets up third-round clash with sister Venus

Serena Williams continued her tennis comeback with a 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 win over Kiki Bertens at the BNP Paribas Open yesterday, setting up a third-round encounter with her sister Venus.

Serena, who is returning to the sport after taking more than a year off to have a baby, was ragged at times but used her power to wear down the Dutch 29th seed in Indian Wells, California.

"I'm getting there. I have such a long way to go," said the 23-time Grand Slam champion.

"It definitely felt better than the first round, but I'm still a little rusty.

"I'm still making errors that I don't normally make. I call this a trial run, of travelling with the baby and all of this is just so new to me."

Venus moved into the third round by beating Romanian Sorana Cirstea 6-3, 6-4 in the preceding match.

Their meeting tomorrow morning will be the earliest between the Williams sisters since their first professional match in the second round of the 1998 Australian Open.


It will be the 29th between the pair, with Serena leading the head-to-head record 17-11. 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.

Meanwhile, Danish second seed Caroline Wozniacki beat Spaniard Lara Arruabarrena 6-4, 6-1, while Ukrainian fourth seed Elina Svitolina defeated German Mona Barthel 6-4, 6-3.

In the men's tournament at Indian Wells, Roger Federer's opening match was put on hold as heavy rain swept through the California desert.

Federer, 36, had taken a set from Federico Delbonis 6-3 with the second tied at 2-2 when play was suspended.