Tennis: Top seeds Djokovic and Williams advance at Indian Wells

Novak Djokovic (left) and Serena Williams both advanced to the next round of competition in the Indian Wells hardcourt tennis tournament.
Novak Djokovic (left) and Serena Williams both advanced to the next round of competition in the Indian Wells hardcourt tennis tournament. PHOTOS: EPA, AFP

INDIAN WELLS (AFP/REUTERS) - World No. 1 Novak Djokovic booked his third-round spot in the Indian Wells hardcourt tennis tournament on Sunday, fending off Bjorn Fratangelo in three sets to win 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.

The defending two-time champion has now won 12 consecutive matches in Indian Wells and is trying to become the first player in tournament history to claim five titles.

After the victory in difficult, windy conditions, Djokovic next faces German Philipp Kohlschreiber who swept past Denis Kudla 6-0, 6-1.

Women's top seed Serena Williams turned an early challenge into an eventual cakewalk as she beat Russian-born Yulia Putintseva 7-6 (7-2), 6-0.

As boxing great Mike Tyson watched on, Williams punched below her weight in the first set, during which she made 29 unforced errors and had to break Putinsteva's service to force a tiebreak.

The second set was not a fair fight, with business as usual resumed as Williams overwhelmed her opponent.

"I started to get more confidence to continue to go for it," she told reporters, referring to her strong finish.

The 34-year-old American ended with seven aces and moved closer to her first title at Indian Wells since her infamous win in 2001, after which she boycotted the event until finally returning last year.

Serena was booed throughout the 2001 final by a crowd that assigned her the blame for the withdrawal by her sister Venus before their scheduled semi-final.

While Williams got a good workout on Sunday, world No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland barely raised a sweat as she continued her bid for a first Indian Wells crown by beating Monica Niculescu 6-2, 6-1.