Venus Williams cut her sister's comeback attempt short with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Serena Williams Monday. It's the first win for the older sibling in this rivalry since 2014 and the first straight-set victory since 2008.
The BNP Paribas Open is Serena's first singles WTA event since her pregnancy, and while she was able to win her first two matches in the tournament, her competition was apparently too strong in the third round.
Although the 37-year-old Venus had been quiet to start the 2018 season, the No. 8 seed looks like a top contender to win this week at Indian Wells Tennis Garden in California.
Both players were off to strong starts in this tournament heading into the third round, with Serena earning straight-set victories over Zarina Diyas and No. 29 Kiki Bertens. Venus had a first-round bye before taking out Sorana Cirstea in the second.
However, only one of the two was at her best on Monday night.
Venus was excellent with her serve during a 6-3 first set, as Christopher Clarey of the New York Times noted:
It only took one break to cruise to the opening-set victory.
The second set appeared to be more of the same with Venus going up 3-0 before Serena fought back with some excellent rallies:
Although the match got closer from there, Venus was eventually able to close out the win:
While she had numerous unforced errors and eight double-faults, the No. 8 seed did enough to advance.
It's always a big story when the Williams sisters compete on the court, with the younger sibling now holding an 17-12 lead in the all-time series.
"I really abhor every time we play, but I do enjoy the battle when I'm out there," Serena said, per Melissa Isaacson of the tournament's official site. "It's just afterwards I don't like it as much."
While Serena showed plenty of flashes of her strong play that should scare the rest of the field going forward, Venus was the better player in this one.
She will now take on No. 21 seed Anastasija Sevastova in her next match with a spot in the quarterfinals on the line.