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Indian Wells PHOTOS: Rusty Serena knocked out by Venus; Federer cruises

Last updated on: March 13, 2018 13:00 IST

IMAGES from the PNB Paribas Open played at Indian Wells in California on Monday

Serena Williams leaves the court after her defeat to sister Venus Williams in the third round match

IMAGE: Serena Williams leaves the court after her defeat to sister Venus Williams in the third round match. Photograph: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Venus Williams cut her sister Serena's comeback to tennis short with a 6-3, 6-4 win in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells on Monday.

 

Returning after more than a year away from the game to have a baby, Serena put up a good fight, saving match point while trailing 5-2 in the second set, but her rustiness told in the end.

Venus told reporters that she never counted the 23-times grand slam champion out of the match.

"I always know that it’s never over until it’s over,” she said.

Venus Williams in action against Serena Williams  

IMAGE: Venus Williams in action during her third round match against Serena Williams. Photograph: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

“She kept roaring back, I’m just lucky that I’ve played more matches than her right now.”

Venus, who has climbed to No. 8 in the world after enjoying a strong 2017, had six aces and broke Serena’s service four times, prevailing in a long final game when her younger sister’s groundstroke fell long.

Fourth seed Elina Svitolina fell to Carla Suarez Navarro 7-5, 6-3.

Roger Federer plays a return during his third round match against Filip Krajinovic at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden at Indian Wells in California

IMAGE: Roger Federer plays a return during his third round match against Filip Krajinovic at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden at Indian Wells in California. Photograph: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

World No 1 Roger Federer needed less than an hour to dispatch Filip Krajinovic at the BNP Paribas Open in California on Monday, mixing overpowering serves and pinpoint groundstrokes to advance to the fourth round of the tournament.

Playing for a third consecutive day due to weather delays in Indian Wells, the 36-year-old Swiss showed no sign of wear en route to a 6-2, 6-1 thrashing of the Serbian in the pair's first ever meeting.

Federer, who had looked slightly off his game in his rain-disrupted third round match against Federico Delbonis, was his dominant self on Monday, winning 89 percent of his first service points while cracking six aces to just one double fault.

Krajinovic had no answer for Federer's serve or relentless return game and ended up winning just 31 of the match's 93 points.

With rivals Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray electing not to enter the tournament, and Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori both eliminated, the path appears clear for the Swiss to win a record sixth Indian Wells title.

Despite the promising outlook, Federer insisted he was taking it one match at a time.

"You can't really look ahead to semi-finals, finals and speculate about who you could play," he told reporters.

Croatia's Borna Coric runs to return against Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut 

IMAGE: Croatia's Borna Coric runs to return against Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut. Photograph: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

"I think that would be a mistake. I am on a good run right now and I want to maintain that. I have to stay sharp."

Next up for Federer is a meeting on Wednesday with France's Jeremy Chardy, who upset his countryman Adrian Mannarino earlier on Monday.

In other matches, fifth-seeded Dominic Thiem had to retire with an ankle injury while trailing Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 4-6, 2-4.

Seventh seed Kevin Anderson took down Nicolas Kicker 7-6(1), 7-6(3) and South Korea’s Chung Hyeon beat Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-4.

Borna Coric of Croatia upset 13th seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-1 6-3 and Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta defeated Daniil Medvedev 6-1 7-5.

American Taylor Fritz enjoyed a comeback victory over Fernando Verdasco 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(1). The 20-year-old has now won 11 of 12 final-set tiebreaks.

“I think it speaks to my strengths on court, which is just being clutch and playing my best tennis in the big moments,” Fritz said, adding, "... it’s probably the stat that I’m most proud about in my tennis career".

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki serves during her third round match against Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich 

IMAGE: Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki serves during her third round match against Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich. Photograph: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki kept alive hopes of regaining the world number one ranking with a scrappy 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 third round win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells on Monday.

The world number two survived a stern test from the 23-year-old Belarussian in a sloppy contest that included 14 breaks of serve on a warm, sunny day.

Sasnovich surrendered the two hour 16 minute tussle with her 56th unforced error of the match.

Wozniacki seemed irritated by the tension of the strings on her racket and discarded it midway through the second game of the match. That failed to improve her focus as she continued to tug the strings between points throughout the contest.

Sasnovich raced out to a 4-1 lead in the first with the help of some deft dropshots and it seemed that the world number 49 was well on her way to pulling off a major upset.

USA's Sloane Stephens reacts as she trails Russia's Daria Kasatkina 

IMAGE: USA's Sloane Stephens reacts as she trails Russia's Daria Kasatkina. Photograph: Harry How/Getty Images

But she was undone by 14 double faults.

Wozniacki reeled off five straight games to take the first set and, despite dropping the second set amid service issues of her own, was able to advance.

Next up for the 27-year-old Dane is out-of-form US Open champion Sloane Stephens, who suffered a shock third round 4-6, 3-6 loss to world number 19 Daria Kasatkina.

The 24-year-old American made four double faults and had her serve broken four times in the 77 minute match against the Russian 20-year-old.

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