Stephens stunned, Serena cruises at Indian Wells

Stephens stunned, Serena cruises at Indian Wells

Second seed Simona Halep is through after the Romanian overcame Barbora Strýcová of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-4.

No. 14 seed Daria Kasatkina of Russian Federation, who seemed poised for stardom after her runnerup finish here last year, continues to struggle and lost in the second round to unseeded 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-1.

Muguruza will next face either former world number one Serena Williams or two-times Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka, who play their second round match later yesterday.

At 4-3 in the second set, Williams hit a cross-court return victor and Azarenka dropped a backhand into the net.

"As much as she's the toughest opponent I have ever played in my life, she's my favourite person to play against", Azarenka said. I knew that I have to work for the match, that I have to be ready to run.

"It was not easy to play, but I felt good".

Awaiting Halep is Ukrainian qualifier Kateryna Kozlova, who upstaged 31st seed Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-4 2-6 6-0.

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Under the lights on the stadium court, Williams smashed 39 winners to defeat Azarenka 7-5, 6-3 in a rematch of the 2016 final, which the Belarusian won.

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

"You can't really enjoy it, because then you'll lose focus", Williams said.

Sloane Stephens's struggles continued Friday as the fourth-ranked American fell 6-3, 6-0 to Swiss qualifier Stefanie Voegele in her opening match at Indian Wells.

Williams needed just over two hours to close out the match in which she had four aces and nine double faults. "I'm still trying to figure it out, obviously".

Meanwhile, sixth seed Elina Svitolina stayed alive after outlasting Sofia Kenin 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 and seventh seed Kiki Bertens beat Magda Linette 6-4 6-1.

Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko, Britain's Johanna Konta, Belgian Elise Mertens and 18-year-old Bianca Andreescu all reached the third-round with straight sets victories Friday.

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