American tennis star Serena Williams produced a rich vein of form as she saw off her long-time rival Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in straight sets to storm into the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in California on Saturday.
10th seeded Williams pulled back 39 winners in contrast to Azarenka's 25 to seal a 7-5, 6-3 win in an intense and bruising second round of the tournament that lasted two hours and seven minutes.
With the win in the 22nd meeting between the two former world number ones, Williams has improved her head-to-head record over Azarenka to 18-4.
However, the match saw Azarenka make just 24 unforced errors in comparison to Williams' 45.
Reflecting on the match, Williams said that playing against champions like Victoria makes her realize that she needs to work a lot on herself.
“I truly love her, she’s a really good friend. She’s a fellow mom and she’s a former No. 1 just like me. It’s hard to play someone you’re so close with but it’s also really invigorating and cool," Williams was quoted as saying by BNP Paribas Open official website.
Meanwhile, Azarenka though admitted that Williams is the toughest opponent she has ever played in her life, the American is indeed her favourite.
"As much as she's the toughest opponent I have ever played in my life, she's my favorite person to play against," Azarenka said.
Williams will now square off with Garbine Muguruza of Venezuela in the round-of-32.