Tennis

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.

SISTER v SISTER

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.

- REUTERS

Tennis