Serena's shot went wide to set up her sister's first match point. In the second set, she got out to a 5-2 lead and was serving for the win. Venus served big when she needed to, although it was a struggle to close out the tie.
"I'm just lucky that I've played more matches than her right now", Venus said on court afterward. "Even though I haven't even played that much this year, the matches in the last year count". Despite the loss, Serena still leads their career series 17-12.
VENUS WILLIAMS, victor of the latest battle between the sisters, crediting her fitness for the win.
"I absolutely want more Grand Slams", she told Vogue earlier this year.
Venus, speaking after the match, said it was hard for her to close the match as Serena's level was super high.
In 2001, Venus withdrew minutes before their semi-final, citing an injury.
"It's good that I don't have to say that this is the best tennis I have ever played and I lost", Serena said. Unbeknown to the general public, she was already two months pregnant.
Venus thus wasn't dwelling on her win Monday.
It was their earliest meeting since a 17-year-old Venus beat 16-year-old Serena in the second round of the 1998 Australian Open.
Darren Cahill, the ESPN commentator who also coaches world No. 1 Simona Halep, tweeted on Monday that he feels the WTA should allow players returning from maternity leave to have a protected seeding, not just a protected ranking.
"Obviously, I wish it was anybody else in the draw, literally anybody", Serena said prior to the match. But then again, I wish it wasn't. I don't know how long Serena (and Venus, for that matter) has left at the top, but I wouldn't bet against her getting back on track. You know, it's a little bit of everything that comes in a match that just doesn't normally happen.' On planning her season hereafter, she mentioned, 'I think I am going tournament by tournament.
After blowing through the first two rounds of the BNP Paribas Open, defeating Zarina Diyas and Kiki Bertens, Serena's comeback was thwarted when she faced her sister for the 29th time.
Venus meanwhile was the more solid, striking 19 winners and 21 unforced errors in the tricky conditions of Indian Wells, where the balls zip through the air but then are tempered by a slow hard court.
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