Serena, Venus to meet in Indian Wells

Venus Williams and Serena Williams talk as they play during a match

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.

Photo Serena Williams, playing in her first singles tournament since a long layoff to give birth to her daughter a year ago, struggled with her timing on Monday.

Serena, 36 and vying to become the first woman to win three Indian Wells titles, clinched the victory against Bertens on her second match point when Bertens blasted a forehand wide.

Collins, ranked 116th and making her first appearance in the main draw, is just starting her second year on the WTA Tour.

In the past, Indian Wells - which is tennis' biggest tournament outside the majors - has had special significance for the sisters following an incident in 2001, when Venus and dad Richard were booed by spectators as they went to their seats for the Indian Wells final.

"It's a huge difference to play her in the semifinals or even the quarterfinals or a final as opposed to the third round", she said.

She joined American upset winners Sachia Vickery, who beat No. 3 seed Garbine Muguruza; 16-year-old wild card Amanda Anisimova, who beat No. 23 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova; and wild-card teenager Caroline Dolehide, a three-set victor over No. 30 Dominika Cibulkova on Friday.

Serena also admitted that her first five months of motherhood has been "amazing", as she says that being a parent comes "naturally" to her.

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While she had numerous unforced errors and eight double faults, the No. 8 seed did enough to advance.

"I didn't really feel comfortable out there today, didn't really get my game going the way I wanted to", Wozniacki said.

Serena subsequently stayed away from Indian Wells until 2015, while Venus didn't return until one year later.

There were no hecklers on this clear and cool Monday night, just the usual shouts of "Go, Venus" or "Go, Serena" or, for those feeling ambivalent, "Go Venus and Serena".

"That's, you know, totally gone out of my mind".

Serena still owns a 17-12 advantage overall, although Venus evened their WTA Tour head-to-head meetings at 7-7. "Serena being a mum now, Venus overcame a lot of also hard situations and still playing". It closer to home for the new mom and she won't have to travel far from her practice grounds. "It's just afterward I don't like it as much".

The sisters have often said the other tennis playing sibling is their toughest opponent. "She served very consistently".

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