(March 11, 2016) INDIAN WELLS, California – Serena Williams opened her BNP Paribas Open with an easy 6-2, 6-1 victory over German qualifier Laura Siegemund in a second round match on Friday night. The No. 1 player in the world needed only 63 minutes to complete her match. This was Williams’s first match since losing the Australian Open final.
“My intensity was the key,” Williams said in her on court post-match interview. “(Siegemund) actually started out really strong in that first game when I was serving, she was close to breaking me.
“I knew right then and there if I wasn’t going to come out at 100% it would be a long match.”
Williams hit 21 winners with 11 unforced errors.
Earlier in the day, sister Venus made her return to Indian Wells for the first time since 2001, losing to Kurumi Nara. Serena did not watch the match.
“I watched a little bit the scores, but not so much her match,” Serena said. Serena admitted to being nervous. “Yeah. And I was playing right after. I thought I was playing after, but I didn’t realize there was a match in between. So I was in focus mode and I was like, oh, there is a match in between.”
Asked about how the 34-year-old thought she and her sister “navigated” the incident in 2001 and coming back last year, Serena said: “I hope so. We always try to be an example, positive role model, and a positive example to our colleagues as well as people that are outside of tennis and everyone of all walks of life.”
“Well, it was a lot less stressful tonight. I was really kind of stressed out last year. It was a lot of emotions last year. This year it was a lot easier.
“I mean, obviously there is still something there, but it’s a lot easier to just deal with everything.”
“I think it wasn’t about winning. When I come here, even to this day it’s not about winning. It’s just about closing that chapter in my life and her life and our lives and try to move on with our heads up, as we always had our heads up. But just continue to do that.”
In addition to No. 10 seed Venus Williams losing, other seeds also fell including No.11 Lucie Safarova, No.16 Svetlana Kuznetsova, No.15 Sara Errani, No. 22 Andrea Petkovic No.23 Madison Keys, No. 24 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and No.27 Kristina Mladenovic. No. 5 seed and defending champion Simona Halep won her match against Vania King 6-1, 6-1.
All photos by Curt Janka.