Two-time Indian Wells champion, Victoria Azarenka shook off a slow start to beat Vera Lapko 6-2, 6-3 on Wednesday and set up a second-round meeting with longtime rival, Serena Williams.
Azarenka, a former world No. 1 now ranked 48th in the world said she started a little too passive in dropping the first two games against her fellow Belarussian, but roared back to seal the win.
She was looking forward to taking on 10th-seeded, Williams, who like all the seeds in the combined WTA and ATP Masters event had a first-round bye.
The American had won 17 of their 21 prior encounters, but Azarenka won their most recent clash — in the 2016 Indian Wells final.
“Of course it’s going to be a ve0ry special match for us,” she said of their first clash since both became mothers.
“We have such a big history, it’s going to be really special. She motivates me, she inspires me, and she pushes me to be better.”