Venus Williams advances to the last eight in Indian Wells

Venus Williams now moves on to face Anastasija Sevastova. AFP

American tennis star Venus Williams booked her place in the quarter-finals of the Indian Wells Master for the third time in her career after clinching a straight-sets win over No.21 seed Anastasija Sevastova here on Wednesday. Venus, who historically hasn't been able to consistently beat her younger sister, was in better physical condition in this matchup and advanced with the 6-3, 6-4 win.

Venus broke first again in the second and just like the first set, was 5-3 up again but Serena held her nerve to take the set to the tiebreak.

Venus took the lead in the first set but a ruthless Serena bounced back to take the next two set, taking the title she had won the previous year. They played Monday night for the first time since last year's Australian Open final, when a pregnant Serena won her 23rd Grand Slam title. With a day to rest mentally and physically, Williams is the clear favorite in the match, especially on the hard courts of Indian Wells. The teenager, however, went mentally off the match after a double fault on second serve at 3-3 in the tiebreak.

Serena, 36, has won a mind-boggling 23 Grand Slam singles title, while Venus, 37, has won an impressive 10.

"Obviously, I wish it was anybody else in the draw, literally anybody", Serena said prior to the match. As her match against Zarina Diyas was about to begin, Williams shed her outerwear to reveal two arm sleeves, an early indicator that the visual gun show that usually intimidates opponents would not be on display.

In 2003, Venus and her sister Serena were two of the best tennis players in the world. "I don't want to go backward".

"I just couldn't execute as well as I wanted to".

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"I have a lot to improve on", she said. "My room for improvement is incredible", added Serena.

"I think she's going to be speeding back to the seedings and to winning tournaments sooner than later", Venus said.

But the beginning of 2018 didn't go according to plan as Sakkari lost her openers in Shenzhen, Sydney, Melbourne, St. Petersburg and Doha before claiming her first of the year in the qualifying rounds in Dubai.

Halep called for a timeout in the first set so her coach Darren Cahill could come down to the court to discuss strategy. And no matter who she faces in the semis, she no longer has to deal with the emotion of playing her sister and no longer has to answer questions about Serena. Halep reclaimed the ranking just before Indian Wells.

Venus and Serena Williams faced off against each other this week in the the third round of the BNP Paribas Open.

Both sisters have been greeted warmly by fans each time they've played here since that turbulent time.

"You just have to reset your mind and focus on the round you're in", Williams said.