Serena Williams out-gunned Victoria Azarenka 7-5, 6-3 in an electrifying clash of former world number ones on Friday to reach the third round at Indian Wells.
The two raised the temperature on a cold, windy night in the California desert, trading shots from every corner of the court before Williams wrapped things up after two hours and 17 minutes
She finished it off in style, with a pair of unreturnable serves. “It was really good for me to kind of fight through that, because literally, I had to fight for every point,” Williams said.
The display worthy of a final came in the second round thanks to Azarenka’s current ranking of 48th in the world — and the bad luck of the draw.
The first set alone lasted one hour and 13 minutes. Williams, unable to serve it out at 5-3, was under pressure again at 5-5 but Azarenka was unable to convert five break points. Williams produced three service winners to take a 6-5 lead and broke Azarenka to pocket the set.