Serena Williams started after 15 months break

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

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

Not only is Venus now more match fit - this is her 13th WTA event over the past 12 months, and Serena's first - but the earlier in the tournament they play each other, the more it has favoured Venus.

Venus achieved victory behind winning 81 per cent of Cirstea's second service points, leading her to six breaks of serve during the match.

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

Serena Williams has mastered the game of tennis, with a recent win on March 8 against Zarina Diyas.

They will play their 29th competitive match on Monday, with Serena having won 17 of the previous 28.

"I would prefer to play someone else, anybody else, literally anybody else, but it has to happen now and one of us will be going home", Serena said about the upcoming match. The tennis ace gave birth to her first child on September 1 past year and this is her first professional tennis tournament post Australian Open 2017, in which she had clinched the title.

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"That's, you know, totally gone out of my mind", she said. "Seventeen years seems like forever ago".

In 2015 Serena returned however the tournament will always bring back tough memories for both.

"It's a huge difference to play her in the semi-finals or even the quarter-finals or a final as opposed to the third round". Venus enjoyed a resurgent 2017 season, but she began this year with losses to Angelique Kerber in Syndey and Belinda Bencic at the Australian Open.

Serena chose to return in 2015, whilst Venus came back to Indian Wells in 2016. "I don't think my dad wants me to ever stop playing", the 37-year-old, seven-time Grand Slam champion said.

Defending champion, Elena Vesnina of Russian Federation also moved into the third round after she beat American Catherine Bellis 2-6 6-1 6-1.

In other women's matches, world number two Caroline Wozniacki steamed her way into the third round with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Lara Arruabarrena, wild card Danielle Collins surprised fellow American Madison Keys 6-3, 7-6 (9/7) and seventh seeded Caroline Garcia cruised past Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-4.

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