Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Halep, Osaka advance at Indian Wells

Halep, Osaka advance at Indian Wells

"I'm just lucky that I've played more matches than her right now", Venus said on court afterward.

Venus faced two break points in the next game, but got bailed out on Serena's consecutive forehand errors to get to deuce.

Venus advanced to the round of 16 where she will face Anastasija Sevastova.

For a moment, the best women's player in the history of tennis displayed rare vulnerability.

But Venus, 37, did have a think of what made the difference between the sisters on court in the third round, their earliest tournament battle since meeting in the second round at the 1998 Australian Open because Serena is now unranked.

"It was not an easy match to figure out.She has everything in her game".

Venus had dominated the first set and broke Serena's serve and set the tone of the match, keeping intact a noticeable trend in matches they have played against each other.

In the day's biggest upset, Russia's Darya Kasatkina topped second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-4, 7-5.

It was the first meeting between the sisters since they clashed in the 2017 Australian Open final, which Serena won before taking a 15-month hiatus due to her pregnancy. That first set took 1 hour, 10 minutes to complete, almost as long as it took Williams to win Monday night's match.

Venus then raced to a 3-0 lead in the second set after breaking her sister twice and had a match point at 5-3 which Serena saved.

"That's going to be a huge story, maybe the story of the year", men's No 1 Roger Federer said of Serena's comeback.

Though she's arguably the greatest tennis champion of all time, with 23 Grand Slam titles, Serena said she has a long way to go before she's back to her usual dominant form.

The former world number one hit four aces but had her serve broken four times in a 6-3 6-4 loss in California.

Venus, speaking after the match, said it was hard for her to close the match as Serena's level was super high. For some it brought closure to the once testy relationship between Indian Wells and the sisters, who hail from the Los Angeles suburb of Compton.

In 24 hours, Venus overcame perhaps the toughest two days she's going to have at this tournament.

"It never crossed my mind", Venus said. "I had to let it all go and try to win the point, because she wasn't conserving anything, I don't think, either".

Serena said she is trying not to look too far into the season.

Wozniacki challenged a call in the final game when the line judge ruled that Sasnovich's shot caught the line. "I knew that I had to change something, but I didn't realize what it was exactly", she said.

The 27-year-old world No. 2 Wozniacki moves on to the fourth round where she will face 20th seeded Russian Daria Kasatkina, who surprised reigning US Open champion Sloane Stephens 6-4, 6-3.

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