Indian Wells: Wins for Serena and Halep, Stephens knocked out
23-time women's singles Grand Slam champion Serena Williams played a scintillating match against Victoria Azarenka in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open.
She outsmarted the former world number one 7-5, 6-3. Williams wrapped up the encounter in a little over two hours.
Meanwhile, Simona Halep advanced to the third round.
On the other hand, world number four Sloane Stephens faced an exit.
How did the match pan out?
Serena was leading the first set 5-3, when Azarenka pulled it to 5-5 but then she was unable to convert five break points.
Serena then produced three service winners and took a decisive 6-5 lead and broke Azarenka to claim the set.
Azarenka continued with her intensity and caused Serena issues, but the American prevailed.
With this win, Serena now has a 18-4 record.
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Here's how Serena and Azarenka reacted
After her victory Serena quipped. "It was really good for me to kind of fight through that, because literally I had to fight for every point."
Azarenka said, "She played better on those important moments. I felt that every game was ad, deuce, ad, deuce. It was all about who was going to take that chance, and she took them a little better today."
Serena to take on Garbine Muguruza next
Serena will face another former world number one in the form of Garbine Muguruza in the next round. Two-time Slam champion Muguruza breezed into the third round with a routine 6-1, 6-3 victory over American Lauren Davis.
Halep wins, Stephens knocked out
World number two Simona Halep zoomed into the third round with a stunning 6-2, 6-4 victory over Czech veteran Barbora Strycova.
The 2015 edition winner fired 18 winners in her match.
She will face Ukrainian qualifier Kateryna Kozlova next.
World number four Sloane Stephens lost against Swiss qualifier Stefanie Voegele 6-3, 6-0.
For the second successive tourney, Stephens got knocked out by a qualifier.
Elina Svitolina prevails over Sofia Kenin
Sixth seed Elina Svitolina was pushed all the way by Sofia Kenin, but the former emerged victorious in three sets to progress in the tourney.
Svitolina won her tie 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4.
"I think it was a really tough match for second round, but in the end the win is all that matters," said Svitolina.
American Lauren Davis
Most asked questions
By what margin did Serena Williams beat Victoria Azarenka in the second round at Indian Wells?
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Whom will Serena face next?
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Whom did Simona Halep beat?
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Which result was the biggest shock of the day?
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