In the third match since his return, Serena Williams will face her sister Venus Williams in a blockbuster match to kick off the night session on Monday at Indian Wells. It will be the 28th time they have met and the first time they have done so at Indian Wells. They were scheduled to do so in 2001, the year of the racist incidents that led to the pair boycotting the tournament for over 10 years.
Check out the Williams sisters Head to Head
Serena has won both matches in straight sets in her return, beating Zarina Diyas and Kiki Bertens so far. She had to break to stay in the first set against Bertens and blew a break lead multiple times in the second but held her nerve finally when it mattered, coming from 15-40 down to close out a 7-6 7-5 victory. “It’s always good to get a tiebreak win, especially the first set under your belt. She was playing well. She played really well in that first set. She was ahead.” Serena said. “That was also really good, because being able to come back and feel that rush of, ‘Okay, I’m down, I’m down, but I’m still fighting.’ To be able to come back I think was also really important.”
Venus also won her first match of the year at this event, defeating Sorana Cirstea after previous losses to Belinda Bencic and Angelique Kerber. Her 6-3 6-4 win was aided greatly but her hammering of the Romanian’s second serve, where she won a massive 81% of points.
“She’s had such a good year last year and playing fantastic tennis.” Serena said on her sister. “Obviously I wish it was anybody else in the draw, literally anybody, but that’s okay. Just have to go out there and see how I am and do my best.” The pair have not met a great deal in the 2010s with Serena adding another 4 wins (to Venus’ 1) to extend her lead in the head to head to 16-11. They last met in the Australian Open final last year, Serena’s 6-4 6-4 win being her last actions on court before maternity leave.
Prediction – Serena Williams in three sets