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14 March 2018, 06:20 | Melanie Burgess
Serena Williams a 23-time grand slam champion is relishing the opportunity to play without pressure as she makes her return to the
"Just have to go out there and see how I am and do my best". Venus preceded her younger sister on the stadium court and beat Sorana Cirstea of Romania 6-3, 6-4. "I would prefer to play someone else, anybody else, literally anybody else, but it has to happen now".
The sisters first played each other in the second round of the 1998 Australian Open, which Venus won 7-6 (7/4), 6-1.
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. Venus did not end her boycott until the following year.
Williams, though, as she often does, came roaring back to level things up after three games. Since reaching the US Open final a year ago, Keys has gone just 5-6 and last lost 3 of her last 4.
She'll be taking on sister Venus in the third round and talked about playing the opponent that she does not like playing: "She's had such a good year last year and playing fantastic tennis".
Still showing some rust from her long layoff, Serena hit just one ace and made 37 unforced errors to 32 for Bertens.
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The Williams sisters have set up a highly anticipated encounter at Indian Wells, where they have never faced off before.
Who will prevail out of Serena and Venus? But I have to play a seed regardless, sooner than later most times for the next couple of tournaments, so I have to be ready.
It was a spirited display from Bertens but she was unable to back it up on serve as Williams reclaimed the break immediately before ending the contest once and for all, much to the joy of the American fans. To combat all the negativity she faces, Williams and Nike created a powerful new ad in which the proud new wife and mother proudly claims there's no right or wrong way to be a woman.
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. "I'm just out here on this journey doing the best I can".
She is not yet in prime form, not yet in prime shape, but in her first two matches she has proved she still has staying power, coming to the net effectively, something she appears to be emphasizing in this comeback, and playing the crucial points with trademark intensity.
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