Venus Williams moves into third round at BNP Paribas Open

Venus Williams moves into third round at BNP Paribas Open

Serena and Venus have faced each other 28 times in professional tournaments, the most recent being the aforementioned Australian Open final in 2017. She marked the occasion with a gold-toned "S" Serena pin that was available to fans who came to see her play.

Serena Williams said on Saturday she "literally didn't even think about" the canceled 2001 match. "So it is what it is".

Venus' last defeat of her younger sister was at the Canadian Open in 2014, where she prevailed in a three-set semi-final. She got her first win of the year against Sorana Cirstea (6-3, 6-4) on Saturday, but she couldn't have gotten a much more hard third-round draw, as she's lost three straight and five of the last six against the 23-time Grand Slam victor.

Serena chose to return in 2015, whilst Venus came back to Indian Wells in 2016.

Serena won 54 percent of her second-serve points and broke Bertens's serve six times. I was always that girl that played with my dolls, and I went to fashion school, so it's not just made up for me.

Monday's meeting will be the 29th between the pair, with Serena leading 17-11. It will be their earliest match-up at a top-tier tournament since their first encounter, Venus downing Serena at the 1998 Australian Open in the second round.

This is the earliest they will face each other since that Melbourne meeting 20 years ago.

Most of those have been late-round matches, but this one comes under different circumstances with Serena being unranked due to her long layoff.

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"It's a huge difference to play her in the semifinals or even the quarterfinals or a final as opposed to the third round", she said.

The crowd's treatment led to a 14-year boycott by the sisters, which Serena finally ended in 2015.

Asked about the semi-final match that never happened, Serena said she has tried to forget. "Seventeen years seems like forever ago".

She admitted to feeling rusty in her first two rounds against Zarina Diyas and Kiki Bertens but a wary Venus countered: "She's playing really well and just honing her game".

"She gave me the trophy because I was so upset. I don't think my dad wants me to ever stop playing", the 37-year-old, seven-time Grand Slam champion said.

Elsewhere on Saturday, fourth seeded Elina Svitolina defeated Germany's Mona Barthel 6-4, 6-3.

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.

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