World number one and top seed Serena Williams cruised past German qualifier Laura Siegemund 6-2, 6-1 to reach the third round at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Williams eased through the match in barely over an hour in her second trip to Indian Wells in the past fifteen years. Serena and her sister Venus both played today, the first time the two sisters have played in the California desert since Serena returned in 2015 after the infamous 2001 final against Kim Clijsters, where Serena and her family endured tumultuous taunting and racial slurs.
Williams Eases Through Opening Set
In the opening game of the match, Williams felt immediate pressure on her serve, fending off break points to take the opening game. The world number one then put the pressure on her German opponent, breaking Siegemund in her opening service game to go up 2-0. Williams then held another trick service game to thirty, before Siegemund got her first game on the board with a hold of serve. The American then breezed through her service game, holding to love, a commonality for a player with as big a serve as Williams', to get the score to 4-1. Both players again held, before the world number one closed out the set, breaking Siegemund on her third set point, to take the opening set 6-2.
Williams Powers Through Second Set
The world number one began the set the same way she did the first, saving break point to hold for 1-0. The qualifier then held easily, before the 21-time Grand Slam champion fended off another break point hold for 2-1. Williams then broke Siegemund easily, before racing through her next service game to consolidate the break for 4-1. The two time Indian Wells champion again broke the world number 79, before serving out the win on her first match point to book her spot in the third round.
Williams Discusses The Win
“Well, it was a lot less stressful tonight. I was really kind of stressed out last year,” Williams said, laughing, discussing her return to Indian Wells last year. “Last year was definitely super emotional for me. This year was just focused on winning some points and winning some games.”
“I think my intensity was the key,” Williams said during the on-court interview after her win. “She actually started really strong in that first game when I was serving. She was close to breaking me. I knew right then and there if I wasn’t going to come out at 100 percent, I was going to have a long match.”
Williams Behind The Numbers
Williams served fairly well throughout the match, hitting four aces to only one double fault. This year's Australian Open finalist only made 55 percent of first serves, but the top seed was near impeccable when making her first serves, winning 75 percent of first serve points. Williams won 65 percent of second serve points and saved all three break points she faced in the match.
Up Next For Williams
Up next for the American is young Kazakh Yulia Putintseva. Putintseva has been in superb form so far, crushing Peng Shuai 6-0, 6-1 in under an hour and then upsetting 27th seed Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 6-4 to reach the third round. Williams and Putintseva have met once before in Madrid in 2013, with Williams winning 7-6, 6-1 over an 18-year-old Putintseva at the time.