March 18, 2018

Venus Williams beat Sevastova to reach Indian Wells quarter-finals

14 March 2018, 11:26 | Sandy Nunez

Serena Williams lost to Venus in 3rd match of comeback, but don't count her out

'Long way to go' for Serena Williams after defeat by sister Venus defeat at Indian Wells

American tennis ace Serena Williams' return after a 15-month pregnancy layoff suffered a major blow as she knocked out of the Indian Wells Masters after going down against elder sister Venus Williams in the third round of the tournament here on Tuesday. After beating her sister, Serena, in straight sets Monday night, Venus was back on center court less than 20 hours later to face 27-year-old Anastajia Sevastova, a crafty, all-court player with a much different game than Serena's.

Pliskova won the first seven points of the match and made her opponent commit 13 unforced errors to just 5 winners.

Venus finished off the 36-minute opening set with back-to-back aces and broke early in the second set against her sibling, who is playing her first WTA event since giving birth in September.

Three breaks helped Wozniacki move 5-3 ahead and she came within two points of levelling the match, but Kasatkina responded once more to win four successive games to seal a straight-sets victory. "There were some points where she just played and it was too good".

That triggered ugly scenes, as their father Richard said he was racially abused by fans when Serena then played - and won - the final against Kim Clijsters.

The 37-year-old edged a tight first set on a tie-break against the Latvian before racing 3-0 up in the second to seemingly ease in the next round.

Only Wozniacki can usurp her atop the WTA rankings after Indian Wells, but she must win the title and hope Halep lose before the final. She has won four of the past five matches she's played against Suarez Navarro, including in the round of 16 at last year's US Open.

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"I definitely know her well", Serena said of her sister.

"So I have just got to keep saying each tournament my goal is just to be better than the last, and I don't - definitely don't want to go backwards".

"I have a lot to improve on", she said. My room for improvement is incredible.

Halep called for a timeout in the first set so her coach Darren Cahill could come down to the court to discuss strategy.

In their 29th career meeting, she lost to her sister, Venus Williams, in the third round at Indian Wells. "I'm just looking forward to it", said the Japanese youngster. And no matter who she faces in the semis, she no longer has to deal with the emotion of playing her sister and no longer has to answer questions about Serena. If she continues to play at the level she has so far, her first title at Indian Wells seems well within her grasp.

Serena returned to the tournament in 2015 and Venus a year later.

Not many players can claim that they've spent their offseason practicing with two former world No. 1s but Sakkari had the fortune of doing so in Monte Carlo end of past year with the Safins.

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