Halep, Osaka advance at Indian Wells

Craig Mack				Johnny Nunez  WireImage

Craig Mack Johnny Nunez WireImage

An unwanted rivalry with roots going back 20 years had its latest chapter Monday night at the BNP Paribas Open, with Venus Williams beating sister Serena 6-3, 6-4 in the third round for her first win over her younger sibling since 2014.

Anisimova, a 16-year-old wild card, won her first three Women's Tennis Association Tour matches at Indian Wells, beating Pauline Parmentier, No. 23 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and two-time Wimbledon victor Petra Kvitova without dropping a set.

The Romanian was in the stands for the Williams sisters' third-round match in California, which Venus won 6-3 6-4.

Among the Williams sisters, the one who had won the first set, was the one who had won 24 out of the 28 matches between them.

Venus seemed to be cruising to victory in the second set after getting a 3-0 lead early on, but Serena, who was playing her first official tournament since giving birth in September 2017, fought back to take the score to 4-5. If not, Caroline Wozniacki, who beat Halep in the Australian Open final, could replace her if the Dane wins the title. "You can see she's hitting the ball without thinking".

Venus was in control of the match, despite some unforced errors and several double faults, throughout.

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.

"Obviously I didn't want to play Venus so early on, but it can happen", Serena told the New York Times. But despite her 28 total winners, she wasn't able to match Pliskova who collected the last six points of the match and sealed the win thanks to an impressive 71% percent of service points won.

"It's definitely not less disappointing", Serena said as she reflected on the defeat. In the second set, Martic served for the match at 6-3 5-3 and got to 30-30, but Vondrousova came back and serve for the second set at 6-5.

Thanks to this win, the teenager will improve her career-high ranking of No.40. My room for improvement is incredible. "EleVen is about being able to break free of that." - and spoke about Althea Gibson, who will be honored with a statue at the US Open.

Halep said she thought Williams "should have been ranked as she left". Venus and her father Richard were greeted with boos as they made their way to their seats, with some fans believing Richard had been behind Venus' withdrawal. If she continues to play at the level she has so far, her first title at Indian Wells seems well within her grasp.

With both sisters qualifying for the year-ending championships at Doha, Serena as the second seed while Venus was seventh. But everybody is playing like this when they are 16.

"It never crossed my mind", Venus said.

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