In their first match since the 2016 BNP Paribas Open final, No.10 seed Serena Williams of the United States picked up another win over long-time rival Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, winning 7-5, 6-3, in the second round of the 2019 edition at Indian Wells on Friday.
In the 22nd meeting between the two former World No.1’s, each a two-time champion at this event, it was Williams who extended her head-to-head lead to 18-4 over World No.48 Azarenka after two hours and six minutes of an intense and bruising baseline battle.
Williams chalked the win up to “just being professional more than anything, and just wanting to be out there and continuing to be out there. I think really, literally, that’s what it boiled down to today.”
23-time Grand Slam champion Williams had 39 winners to Azarenka’s 25, but Azarenka had just 24 unforced errors to Williams’ 45. Williams, however, was clutch on her biggest opportunities, converting half of her 12 break points, while Azarenka was just 4-of-15 on her own break chances.