Serena Williams and Kiki Bertens have played out several close matches in the past - and today wasn't an exception as the resurgent American needed nearly two hours of play to get past the hard-hitting Dutch, who ultimately fell in a tight 6-7, 5-7 second-round match at the BNP Paribas Open. "Everything is a bonus".
Serena - a two-time champion at Indian Wells - was far from her free-flowing best against Bertens Saturday but she battled past the Dutchman after nearly two hours on court. Unexpectedly, it was Bertens who made the first breakthrough as she claimed three games on the trot, playing some outstanding tennis as she was able to force errors from the American. "For me, it's a real joy to be out here", Serena said.
Daria Gavrilova is through to the third round of the WTA tournament in Indian Wells after a straight-sets victory over Yanina Wickmayer.
Asked about her preparation in playing her sibling, Venus said, "Really just trying to see what happens".
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But we know there is a lot more to fight for this season". We have to give 100%, score and pass. It is a very important game for us.
And the 36-year-old backed that up with a battling display, which lasted nearly two hours against the spirited Dutchwoman, despite tallying 34 unforced errors.
Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - early 29/1/17 Serena Williams of the US poses with the Women's singles trophy after winning her final match.
Inspired tennis from the world number 29 saw her immediately get the break back but on Williams' second attempt to serve out the encounter, she blew two break points and the home favorite ultimately proved to be better during the crucial moments.
They have faced each other repeatedly at the other most significant American tournaments, five times at the United States Open, four times in Key Biscayne, Fla., at the tournament now known as the Miami Open.
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Who will prevail out of Serena and Venus? She was already eight weeks pregnant at that time. "When she's missing, it's not by much". "It definitely wasn't easy", she told reporters.
The 30-second ad shows clips of Williams from her early days on the court up until recently as she leaps, jumps and famously splits across the court to victory.
Her average first- and second-serve speeds were superior to Williams's on Saturday, and she tried and failed to serve for the opening set before Williams eventually prevailed in a tiebreaker. But the sisters are back on tour together again, and both advanced by winning second-round matches on Saturday. "I'm just out here on this journey and doing the best I can".
"Obviously I wish it was anybody else in the draw, literally anybody, but that's O.K.", Serena Williams said of their latest rematch.
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