March 12, 2016 / 7:48 AM / 2 years ago

Venus makes early exit, dominant Serena advances

(Reuters) - Venus Williams’ return to Indian Wells lasted just one match but sister Serena looked poised for a long run after a dominant win at the BNP Paribas Open on Friday.

Venus Williams of the U.S. runs to hit a shot during her first round match against Britain's Johanna Konta at the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park, Australia, January 19, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Venus returned to the event for the first time since 2001, having boycotted it after being booed and heckled by fans during her previous trip, but made a quick exit after a 6-4 6-3 defeat to Japanese qualifier Kurumi Nara in the second round.

The 15-year-old incident had occurred when Venus withdrew from a semi-final match with Serena, drawing ire from the crowd aimed at the Williams family.

This time, though, Venus was greeted warmly by the crowd before her match and throughout it, a consolation for her poor performance.

“It was enough of a fairytale to come here and play,” Venus told reporters. “A win would have been nice, but that means I have to come back, play next year.”

Serena had no such issues with German opponent Laura Siegemund in a 6-2 6-1 romp.

The world number one had already reconciled with the event last year when she ended her own boycott and she appeared freed up as she needed a little over an hour to advance.

“My intensity was key. I knew if I didn’t start fast it was going to be a long match,” Serena said.

In earlier action, third seeded Agnieszka Radwanska prevailed in a three-set thriller against Dominika Cibulkova 6-3 3-6 7-5. She rallied from an early 4-1 deficit to push through.

Defending champion Simona Halep made easy work of Vania King 6-1 6-1.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, the No. 8 seed from the Czech Republic, needed a third-set tiebreaker in a 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (5) victory over Danka Kovinic of Montenegro.

Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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