[US], Mar 05 (ANI): A year after returning from break, Serena Williams was handed a tough draw at the BNP Paribas Open.
The 23-time major champion could end up facing former World number one Victoria Azarenka in a second-round match, as the full draw was revealed on Monday.
Number ten seed Williams was drawn into the same quarter of the draw as number four seed Sloane Stephens and number seven seed Kiki Bertens in the bottom half, and she will face either Azarenka or Vera Lapko after an opening-round match.
Azarenka has already the upper hand over Williams and she defeated her in the finals of the 2016 tournament.
Williams is up for an uphill task as even if she manages to win her second-round match, she could end up facing number 20 seed and two-time major champion Garbine Muguruza.
In other quarters of the second half, number two seed Simona Halep will face the winner of Barbora Strycova or a qualifier first up.
On the top half of the draw, a rematch of the recent loss looms over the defending champion and top seed Naomi Osaka.
She will face either Kristina Mladenovic or Zheng Saisai in her first match at the tournament this year. (ANI)