Monday, March 11, 2019 - Venus Williams plays Christina McHale in the 3rd round of the BNP Paribas Open in Stadium 1 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. (Elise Sterck/BNP Paribas Open)
On Monday afternoon she faced off against fellow American Christina McHale, who’s been having an impressive run of her own in Indian Wells. The 26-year-old triumphed through two rounds of qualifying before downing both Maria Sakkari and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in impressive main draw action.
Unfortunately for McHale, her time in the desert quickly came to a close when pit against the seven-time Grand Slam Champion. Williams established her dominance early, capitalizing on (7/9) 78% of her break point opportunities to set the tone in the opening frame. She closed out a swift 6-2 set that thrilled the heavily pro-Williams crowd in Tennis Paradise.
To McHale’s credit, she showed impressive resolve throughout the next and final set. The American upstart took an early lead, but eventually weakened under Williams’ unrelenting pressure. Down 5-3, Williams began to take control. “I felt like I had some opportunities to get even but was getting a little unlucky” she remarked, “but I just started to feel like I was learning her game. I’d never played her, but eventually I felt comfortable controlling the points and took it from there.”
Williams, a 25-year tour veteran, continues to turn back the clock on the rest of the field in Indian Wells. While she faltered during her first few tournaments of 2019, she’s making an emphatic statement to tennis pundits and fans alike: discount her at your own risk.
Williams is sure to be the crowd favorite once again in her next match, as she takes on German Mona Barthel in the fourth round.