Serena cruises at Indian Wells

Serena cruises at Indian Wells

Former US Open champion Stephens was the first major casualty at Indian Wells, where she lost to Swiss qualifier Voegele 6-3 6-0.

It's the second tournament in a row that 2017 US Open victor Stephens has been toppled by a qualifier, coming on the heels of a straight-sets defeat to 172nd-ranked Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia in Acapulco. She has now won the last four of five career meetings with Stephens.

Commentator Mary Carillo summed it up perfectly after Williams wrapped up the match in a little over two hours. "If it's easy, if it's boring, I don't want to play". "It was unfortunate that I lost the second set 6-0".

Halep needed 86 minutes of play to improve to 5-0 against Strycova, including a previous win in the fourth round of Indian Wells in 2016 - which happens to be Strycova's best-ever result at the event.

No. 14 Daria Kasatkina, a finalist previous year, lost to Marketa Vondrousova 6-2, 6-1; No. 19 Caroline Garcia lost to Jennifer Brady 6-3, 3-6, 6-0; No. 27 Su-Wei Hsieh was beaten by Johanna Konta 6-0, 6-2; and No. 29 Mihaela Buzarnescu lost to Daria Gavrilova 6-2, 6-2.

Each a two-time victor at the event, Williams edged her friend and rival 7-5, 6-3 on Friday night in a display of fierce forehands and shot-making.

Azarenka, trying to claw her way back among the game's elite from her current 48th in the world, is coming off a first-round win over compatriot Vera Lapko.

Whatever the outcome, Muguruza was looking forward to the challenge and not at all dismayed by the fact that it will come so early in the tournament.

World number two Simona Halep accounted for Barbora Strycova en route to the Indian Wells Open third round, while Serena Williams trumped Victoria Azarenka in a thrilling contest.

Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka just played out one of the best games of tennis you're likely to see with Williams claiming the 7-5, 6-3 victory.

Williams had the answers in the gruelling second-round clash - her first appearance since losing in the Australian Open quarter-finals.

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