Serena Williams ousted from Indian Wells by sister Venus

Williams (USA) and Serena Williams (USA) hug after their third
round match in the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis
Garden. Venus Williams won the match. Jayne Kamin-Oncea,
USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

INDIAN WELLS — Serena Williams’ return to tournament tennis
came to an abrupt end Monday as she crashed out of Indian Wells
with a 6-3, 6-4 loss to her sister Venus.

Venus closed out the 29th career meeting between the two on her
second match point as Serena sailed a forehand long to end the
third round match in front of a main stadium crowd of about

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

Serena said she is still easing her way back into match

“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

“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. It is 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.

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.

– Booing incident –

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

For some 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.

“(Get) ready for the next tournament. I have a lot to improve
on,” she said.

“It’s good that I don’t have to say that this is the best
tennis I have ever played and I lost. My room for improvement
is incredible. 

“So I have just got to keep saying at each tournament that my
goal is just to be better than the last. I don’t want to go

© Agence France-Presse

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports

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