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By Chris Oddo | Sunday March 13, 2016

Serena Williams Indian Wells

Serena Williams survived a shaky start to storm past Yulia Putintseva and into the round of 16.

Photo Source: Chris Levy

A comment was made in the press room by young American Nicole Gibbs that turns out to be very apropos with regard to the “wide open” quality of the WTA draw at the BNP Paribas Open.

“I don't think I would call a tour with Serena Williams on it wide open,” Gibbs said. “Other than that, yeah, I would say so.”

Seeds have dropped (Kerber, Muguruza on Saturday) and almost dropped (Radwanska on Friday, Kvitova today) like flies this week in the desert, but Williams marched on after a slow start to take her place in the round of 16.

“I was just trying to get my bearings there,” Williams said after her 7-6(2), 6-0 victory over Yulia Putintseva. “I made a lot of errors in that first set.”

Williams broke to level with the feisty Putintseva at 5-all but promptly gifted a break in the next game to put the pressure back on her side of the court.

“I had a slow start in this one, too, but it's getting better,” Williams said. “It just goes to show there is always something I can improve on. I'm always looking to improve on things.”

Williams broke back, took the tiebreaker without any drama, and didn’t drop another game to set up a round of 16 encounter with qualifier Kateryna Bondarenko.

Elsewhere on Sunday, Petra Kvitova mounted a late rally to stave off Sweden’s Johanna Larsson in three sets. Larsson served for the match but proceeded to drop the final three games to fall.

Kvitova, who prevailed 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, will move on to face American qualifier Nicole Gibbs in the round of 16.

“Definitely she's playing well here,” Kvitova said. “I think she's a very good mover. She can catch a lot of balls and putting back everything.”


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