Serena Williams gets the better of ‘really good friend’ Victoria Azarenka

Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka hugging

Serena Williams may “truly love” Victoria Azarenka, but she still managed to get the better of her “really good friend” during their BNP Paribas Open clash.

They have a lot in common as they are not only two former world No 1s, but also two mothers playing on the WTA Tour.

Their second-round clash was tipped to be a classic and it Williams who emerged victorious with a 7-5, 6-3 victory in just over two hours.

“I truly love her, she’s a really good friend,” Williams said.

“She’s a fellow mom and a former number one, just like me.

“It’s hard to play someone you’re so close with but it’s also really invigorating and cool.”

The American later added: “You can’t really enjoy it, because then you’ll lose focus. You’ve got to kind of stay in the moment, you know. And it’s important to – like, sometimes you realise, ‘Oh, my God, this is going to be a classic.’

“But you can’t let your mind go there, because you wouldn’t want to watch it in the future,” she said with a smile.

Meanwhile, world No 4 Sloane Stephens was dumped out by Stefanie Vogele as the Swiss qualifier won 6-3, 6-0 in just over an hour.

It was the 2017 US Open champion’s fourth loss in five matches against Vogele.

“Obviously playing someone who you haven’t done that well against in the past is a little bit rough,” Stephens said.

“It was windy but it was windy for both of us. I just didn’t play a great match today.”

British No 1 Johanna Konta also advanced with a comfortable win as she beat Su-Wei Hsieh 6-0, 6-2 while world No 3 Simona Halep was a 6-2, 6-4 winner over Barbora Strycova.

Sixth seed Elina Svitolina had to come from a set down to beat Sofia Kenin 5-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 while Garbine Muguruza beat Lauren Davis 6-1, 6-3.

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