Indian Wells: Serena Knocks Out By Sister Venus, Wozniacki Marches On

Serena Williams’ return to the WTA Tour ended on Monday as she crashed out of Indian Wells with a 6-3, 6-4 defeat to her sister Venus Williams.

Venus closed out the 29th career between the duo, her second match point as Serena sailed a forehand long to end the third- round showdown.

It was the first meeting since the final of the 2017 Australian Open between the sisters which Serena won before taking a 15-month hiatus due to her pregnancy.

Serena said she is still easing her way back into match fitness.

“It wasn’t very easy, obviously,” she said. “It was good to play and try to get in the rhythm and get into the swing again.

“I can’t really replicate the situation no matter how much I do in practice. I make those shots 10 times out of 10 in practice.

“It’s just the nerves, the anticipation you feel naturally. It’s a little bit of everything that comes in a match that just doesn’t normally happen.”

The 10th seeded Venus moves on to the round of 16 where she will face Anastasija Sevastova, who defeated 12th seeded Julia Georges 6-3, 6-3.

It is rare for the Williams sisters to play this early in a tournament and the earliest they have faced each other since their first encounter at the Australian Open in 1998.

They arrived outside the stadium together on a golf cart then walked through the tunnel with Serena entering the court first, as many in the crowd stood and cheered.

Venus blasted six aces but had eight double faults in the one hour 26 minute main stadium match in front of a crowd of about 13,000.

Serena is still shaking off the rust after the long layoff as she hit four aces but had her serve broken four times.

“I just have a long way to go,” Serena said.

Despite the loss Serena still leads their career series 17-12.

This was their first encounter with Venus as an aunt and Serena as a new mother after giving birth to her baby daughter, Alexis Olympia, on September 1.

Venus’s victory also comes 17 years after an ugly booing incident led to a 14-year boycott of the tournament by the sisters.

It brought closure to the once testy relationship between Indian Wells and the sisters who hail from the Los Angeles suburb of Compton. Serena returned to the tournament in 2015 and Venus a year later.

Asked about the incident finally being put to rest, Venus said, “It never crossed my mind.”

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

“I have a lot to improve on,” she said.

Elsewhere, Australian Open champ Caroline Wozniacki benefited from a challenge call in the final game en route to defeating Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.

Wozniacki silenced the critics earlier this year when she claimed her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, becoming the first Danish woman to win a major.

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.

“I managed to get my feet going more, and to start playing more steady, and that paid off today,” said Wozniacki.

Wozniacki challenged a call in the final game when the line judge ruled that Sasnovich’s shot caught the line. Wozniacki asked for a second look and the review showed that the line judge mistakenly called the ball in.

Wozniacki said the court conditions were difficult but she managed to make adjustments.

“These courts are really difficult to play on. That’s also why you see a lot of upsets,” she said. “The ball bounces really high and it goes extremely slow.”

In other women’s third round matches on Monday, French seventh seed Caroline Garcia defeated Australia’s Daria Gavrilova 7-5, 6-4.

Danielle Collins also won her third round match, defeating Sofya Zhuk of Russia 6-4, 6-4.

Serena To Face Venus In Indian Wells Third Round

Serena Williams will play her sister Venus in the third round at Indian Wells as she continues her comeback after the safe delivery of her daughter.

The 36-year-old American, who was absent for 14 months, beat Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 in round two.

“Everything is a bonus,” said Serena after winning in one hour, 52 minutes on her second match point.

The sisters last met in the 2017 Australian Open final, when Serena won her 23rd Grand Slam singles title.

“I would prefer to play someone else, anybody else, literally anybody else, but it has to happen now. So it is what it is,” said Serena.

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

Venus beat Sorona Cirstea of Romania in her second-round match 6-3 6-4.

They will play their 29th competitive match on Monday, with Serena having won 17 of the previous 28.

“She looked like she never lost a step,” Venus said of her younger sister. “Great way to come back.”

Defending champion Elena Vesnina of Russia also moved into the third round after she beat American Catherine Bellis 2-6 6-1 6-1.

Danish second seed Caroline Wozniacki beat Spaniard Lara Arruabarrena 6-4 6-1, while Ukrainian fourth seed Elina Svitolina defeated German Mona Barthel 6-4 6-3.

In the men’s competition, world number one and top seed Roger Federer took the first set against Argentina’s Federico Delbonis 6-3.

The Swiss has never beaten Delbonis – though they have only met once on the tour – and the pair were level at 2-2 in the second set when play was suspended for the day because of rain.

They will resume their match on Sunday, when British number one Kyle Edmund faces the experienced Israeli DudiSela in his opening singles match.

Elsewhere, third seed GrigorDimitrov of Bulgaria lost 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 6-3 to Spain’s Fernando Verdasco, but Austrian fifth seed Dominic Thiem beat StefanosTsitsipas of Greece 6-2 3-6 6-3.

Triumphant Venus Quiet About Serena’s New Baby At US Open

Venus Williams gave the public the mother of all silent treatments Friday at the US Open regarding the news of her sister Serena giving birth to a baby girl.

US ninth seed Venus, a seven-time Grand Slam champion and two-time US Open winner, downed 95th-ranked Maria Sakkari 6-3, 6-4 to reach the round of 16 on the New York hardcourts.

The achievement was somewhat overshadowed by the much-awaited birth of her younger sister Serena’s baby, one anticipated since she revealed her pregnancy on social media in April.

But Venus, who lost to her pregnant sister in the Australian Open final last January, wasn’t partaking in the joy in public, starting from the first question she faced in a post-match news conference about her emotions when she heard the news.

“I’m definitely available to answer questions about tennis,” Venus said. “That’s all right now.”

It was left for the US Open Twitter page to confirm the birth and offer well-wishes to the family.

“Congratulations to @serenawilliams for giving birth to a baby girl! Sending you (heart emoji) from your friends & family at the #USOpen and @WTA!” the US Open tweeted.

A Florida CBS television station revealed Serena had gone into labor and later that she had given birth, touching off multiple reports and social media congratulation messages.

Spanish third seed Garbine Muguruza, who beat Venus in July’s Wimbledon final, even wished Serena well, saying “I’m very happy for her. It’s such a good moment I’m sure.”

Told the baby was a girl, Muguruza said, “Well, I hope she doesn’t play tennis.”

Muguruza and Venus could meet again in the US Open quarter-finals.

But when Venus took the podium, a moderator reinforced her desire not to talk about the baby, saying “Tennis questions, please,” and later, “Let’s keep it tennis focused.”

After a few sporty inquiries, another attempt at baby comments asked whether the infant has a two-handed backhand or enough depth on her forehand yet.

“Oh, my gosh,” Venus said. “That’s hilarious.”

Venus did reveal she spoke with Serena before the match, although giving away none of the conversation details.

“We always talk. She’s always encouraging me, from every step of the way, every match, always,” Venus said.

“I talked to her before this match, too. She didn’t have any specific advice about this match but more motivational.”

Venus said sometimes their exchanges are done by text, but noted, “We don’t use a lot of emojies at all. We actually use the English language.”

Asked about the birth reports just before she walked onto the court before the match, Venus, the oldest woman in the US Open at age 37, said, “Obviously I’m super excited. Words can’t describe it.”

After the match, an on-court interviewer notedly ignored the subject in questions until ending her remarks by congratulating the Williams family on a wonderful day.

Asked later if it was hard for her to focus on the match, Venus said, “I’m a real professional, because I have been doing this for a long time, so when the first ball starts, it’s a ton of excitement.”


Johanna Konta Defeats Venus Williams

Johanna Konta defeated seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams 6-4 7-5 to become the first British woman to reach the Miami Open final.

The 25-year-old will face world number 14 Dane Caroline Wozniacki, who overcame Czech second seed Karolina Pliskova 5-7 6-1 6-1.

Konta said: “Caroline’s one of the best athletes on tour, so I know I am going to be running for a lot of balls.

“I’m looking forward to it, it is going to be a battle and I will try my best.”

Konta broke Williams twice in the first set as she moved into a 3-0 lead, before the 36-year-old American salvaged one of those breaks.

Williams struggled with her first serve and saved five break points early in the second set before breaking Konta to take a 3-1 lead.

But the British number one battled back to break Williams on three occasions on her way to sealing victory shortly after midnight local time.

Konta will reach a career-high world number seven ranking if she lifts the trophy on Saturday.

I didn’t Call Venus Williams “Gorilla’’—Sacked ESPN Commentator

An ESPN commentator who was sacked for making controversial statements about Venus Williams during the Australian Open is now planning to sue his former employers for wrongful termination, a report from Independent says.

Doug Adler, a former athlete who played professional tennis between 1979 and 1981, was on air during Venus Williams’ second round match against Stefanie Voegele in Melbourne when he appeared to call her a “gorilla”.

Adler was subsequently sacked by the broadcaster for the alleged slur, but he has rejected the claim and said that he was actually calling Venus’ playing style “like a guerilla.”

When many viewers complained of racism, ESPN suspended Adler, and then later decided to sack him.

He did apologise to the seven-time Grand Slam champion, but still insisted that what he had said was, “Venus moved in and put the guerrilla effect on.”

Adler’s lawyers, who claim that he suffered “emotional distress” on account of being accused of racism, also said that the term “guerilla tennis” is commonly used in the sport and cited an advert featuring Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras which coined the term.

ESPN, though, hasn’t received any official notice, and thus refused to comment on the issue.

“We have not been served and are declining further comment,” said an official statement from the American broadcasting giant.

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