Serena Williams revels in 'incredible' win

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Serena was made to sweat against Kiki Bertens, but she held on for a 7-6, 7-5 victory in 1 hour and 52 minutes.

Serena Williams and Kiki Bertens have played out several close matches in the past - and today wasn't an exception as the resurgent American needed nearly two hours of play to get past the hard-hitting Dutch, who ultimately fell in a tight 6-7, 5-7 second-round match at the BNP Paribas Open.

Defending champion Elena Vesnina dropped the first set before she charged back t o life to overpower American Catherine Bellis 2-6 6-1 6-1.

It was Venus' seventh appearance in the California desert, and third since 2001, after an absence of 15 years. But I have to play a seed regardless, sooner than later most times for the next couple of tournaments, so I have to be ready. Whether it's Venus or anyone else, it's going to be someone.

"Obviously, I wish it was anybody else in the draw, literally anybody, but that's OK", Serena said. "I'm just out here on this journey doing the best I can". Venus preceded her younger sister on the stadium court and beat Sorana Cirstea of Romania 6-3, 6-4.

"I'm getting there. I have a long way to go".

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"I'm a little rusty but it doesn't matter". I'm still making errors that I don't normally make. "I call this a trial run, of traveling with the baby and all of this is just so new to me".

On Monday, Serena and Venus will meet for the 29th time. "It's been over a year and a kid later and I get to go home to her now, and I'm excited about that".

She is not yet in prime form, not yet in prime shape, but in her first two matches she has proved she still has staying power, coming to the net effectively, something she appears to be emphasizing in this comeback, and playing the crucial points with trademark intensity. She won her first service game to love and flexed her muscles early on with a 100mph serve. "When she's missing, it's not by much".

Prior to her return to professional tennis, she has played in two minor matches - an exhibition game in Abu Dhabi last December and a doubles rubber to represent the US Fed Cup team against the Netherlands in February.

But American Madison Keys was stunned by countrywoman Danielle Collins who earned her biggest career win with a 6-3, 7-6 (1) victory.

Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - early 29/1/17 Serena Williams of the USA poses with the Women's singles trophy after winning her final match.