Serena Williams wins in WTA tour return

In Serena Williams's Comeback, a Familiar Opponent: Venus

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

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

Williams scuffled at times in the first set, but she showed a ton of grit and fight in battling from behind and overcoming adversity.

Sisters Serena and Venus Williams will collide at Indian Wells after they were both successful on Saturday night.

Serena was already pregnant with daughter Alexis Olympia, who was born on 1 September, when she beat Venus 6-4 6-4 in Melbourne.

In other matches, fifth seed Dominic Thiem beat Greek 19-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 while South African seventh seed Kevin Anderson overcame Russian Evgeny Donskoy 7-5, 6-4. "It was looking scary in the second set so it was good to pull it out", Venus said.

Following the game, Williams admitted that she was a "little rusty".

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The new mom is aiming to become the first woman to win three singles titles in Indian Wells, adding to her trophies from 1999 and 2001. Serena leads Venus 17-11 all-time and has won eight of their last nine meetings, most recently the Australian Open final a year ago.

The crowd's treatment led to a 14-year boycott by the sisters, which Serena finally ended in 2015. "But I call this a trial run".

Other second-round winners were No. 5 seed Karolina Pliskova, 7-6 (4), 6-1 over Irina-Camelia Begu; No. 6 Jelena Ostapenko stopped Belinda Bencic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1; No. 17 CoCo Vandeweghe defeated beat Kaia Kanepi 6-0, 7-6 (6); and Kristina Mladenovic edged Samantha Stosur 7-5, 7-5. "I don't think my dad wants me to ever stop playing", the 37-year-old, seven-time Grand Slam champion said.

Much like the first set, the second set was a test of wills, with Williams and Bertens trading breaks at times and struggling to hold.

Bertens, ranked 29, was broken in the second as Williams served for the match at 5-4, but the next three games all went against serve.

Ukrainian Svitolina won five titles in 2017, comprising Toronto, Rome, Istanbul, Dubai and Taipei City.

Fifteenth seeded Madison Keys failed to get past world No. 117 Danielle Collins 6-3, 7-6 (1).

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