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Osaka, Venus Through To 4th-round At Indian Wells

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Naomi Osaka rolled past Danielle Collins 6-4, 6-2 in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open on Monday night, keeping the world’s No. 1 player on track to defend her title.

Novak Djokovic, the top-ranked men’s player, held serve to win his opening game against Philipp Kohlschreiber in their night match. The German owned the advantage on his serve in the second game before rain began falling. The match was later suspended for the night.

Collins struggled with her serve throughout the match, committing seven double faults and connecting on just 47 percent of her first serves.

Osaka’s first-serve percentage was 66 and she won 70 percent of her first-serve points.

“In the first set I was just really flat-footed. I didn’t feel like I was moving well at all,’’ Osaka said. “Then I just tried to really hype myself up. My mindset was just to keep trying to get my feet moving and stay pumped up and positive.’’

Osaka won her first career title at Indian Wells a year ago, propelling her to a career-best year in which she defeated Serena Williams for the US Open title. She began this year winning the Australian Open and moving to the top of the rankings. After that triumph, she fired her coach and lost in the first round in Dubai before taking on a new coach, Jermaine Jenkins.

“It is different from last year, but I think I am getting used to it,’’ Osaka said. “I have been practicing on Court 3 for the past few days, and I’m really grateful there is a lot of people that come out and watch. I try to sign all of the signatures.’’

Venus Williams is turning back her own clock, moving into the fourth round with a 6-2, 7-5 victory over qualifier Christina McHale.

Williams is seeking her 50th career WTA Tour title in the desert, where she has never won the event. And at 38, she’s showing vintage form.

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