California, March 13: Venus Williams ended sister Serena's comeback at Indian Wells Masters after proving too good for the returning 23-time grand slam champion, triumphing 6-3 6-4.
The Williams sisters renewed their great sibling rivalry on Monday (March 12) – the pair going head-to-head for the 29th time.
Serena boasted a superior 17-11 record against her older sister, having defeated Venus in the 2017 Australian Open final – her last competitive outing before spending time away from the WTA Tour circuit following the birth of her daughter in September.
But the former world number one was upstaged by a red-hot Venus in straight sets as the seven-time major winner reached the fourth round by beating Serena for the first time since 2014, despite a late wobble which saw her save a break point before moving through.
Heading into the match, Serena said she was dreading the all-Williams matchup and you could understand why early.
The pair battled to hold serve to start the match – the opening two services games both featuring break points in the first-ever third-round meeting between the stat duo.
Making her comeback at Indian Wells, where she lifted the trophy twice previously, Serena had seen off Zarina Diyas and Kiki Bertens.
But eighth seed Venus was a different proposition for Serena, who cut a frustrated figure as was broken in the sixth game – the 36-year-old lacking the fluidity and accuracy to asset her authority.
It was an unfamiliar situation for Serena, with Venus responding to everything thrown at her, including a pair of break points, which she saved.
Venus continued where she left off in the second set, breaking in the opening game before doing so again for a commanding 3-0 lead.
But just as Venus looked in complete control, Serena broke back to reduce the deficit to keep her hopes alive.
However, despite stumbling as Venus double-faulted twice and wasted a match point at 5-2 while facing a break point at 5-4, the 37-year-old still managed to close it out against the rallying Serena.