No. 12 seed Venus Williams backed up her daring, match-points-saving performance against Jelena Jankovic with a straight-set victory over Lucie Safarova at the BNP Paribas Open on Monday.
Williams clinched the match 6-4, 6-2 in 70 minutes on a double-fault by her Czech opponent.
The 36-year-old Williams gave a little dance during her post-match interview on court. "It's very special [win]," said the SoCal-born Williams to the Stadium 1 crowd. "It's good to be at home."
Williams reached the last four in Indian Wells in 1998 and 2001. She will play qualifier Peng Shuai for a place in the quarterfinals.
Peng was sidelined with a back injury which forced her to miss four majors in a row (2015 Wimbledon through 2016 Roland Garros). Since her return, she picked up her first singles title (Tianjin).
"I think it’s great win. It’s a big challenge" Peng said on court, referring to her time on tour since being sidelined.
Under the lights of Stadium 1, World No. 9 Madison Keys made a triumphant return to the courts with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Naomi Osaka. This was the American's first tournament of the season, her return delayed as she nursed a wrist injury.
"I’m feeling pretty good. This is my first tournament back and i have some wins under my belt," said Madison Keys after her victory. "What a place to start my season. I get to do it at home in fromt of all these amazing people."
Keys will next play 2011 champion Caroline Wozniacki, a 6-3, 6-1 winner over Katerina Siniakova. The Dane won her only previous match against Keys, in the 2016 US Open round of 16.