World No.1 Serena Williams has moved into the fourth round of the Indian Wells Masters with a 7-6 (2) 6-0 victory over Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan.
In the opening set, the two-time tournament champion showed the effects of a six-week layoff since losing the Australian Open final.
She made 29 unforced errors against Putintseva who played aggressively.
“I was just trying to find my rhythm out there, trying my best to not get off to a slow start,” Williams said.
“I found it (Putintseva’s style) good to play. I just wasn’t finding my rhythm. I hadn’t played someone like her, so I was just trying to get my bearings there.”
Williams had to break Putintseva’s serve to force the tiebreaker and then finally began to impose herself on her 56th-ranked opponent, winning the final five points.
The second set was over in 24 minutes, with Williams making just four errors and winning 24 of the 30 points.
She’ll face Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine in the fourth round.
Williams was joined in the fourth round by third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, a winner over Monica Niculescu of Romania and eighth-seed Petra Kvitova who beat Johanna Larsson of Sweden.
While Jelena Jankovic also progressed after routing Coco Vandeweghe.