It was a comfortable session for the world No. 1 who launched her bid for an eighth title at the Miami WTA with a 6-3 6-1 victory over Monica Niculescu.
The 33-year-old American defeated the cagey Romanian for the second tournament in succession, showing no sign of the knee injury that forced her to forfeit her Indian Wells quarter-final.
“It was a little sore in practice, but it was OK,” Williams said of her knee. “I really didn’t feel it, to be honest.??
“Once you step out on the court you have so much adrenaline going. The adrenaline kind of kills it. So I was surprised. I felt pretty good.”
Williams, who had more trouble beating spin-merchant Niculescu in her opening match at Indian Wells, needed just an hour and 21 minutes to get past her in this match postponed from Friday when rain washed out the night session at Crandon Park.
Williams next faces compatriot Bellis who??made the headlines at last year’s US Open when she??became the youngest player to win a match at the tournament since 1996 after upsetting Dominika Cibulkova.
Bellis, who advanced with an easy win over 29th-seeded Zarina Diyas on Friday, said on her showdown with the 19-time Grand Slam champion:??”It’s going to be really fun. I have nothing to lose, so I’m just going to play my game and see what happens.”
There was a shock for Canadian sixth seed Eugenie Bouchard, the 2014 Wimbledon finalist, beaten 6-0 7-6 by 113th-ranked German qualifier Tatjana Maria.
Sara Errani, the Italian 11th seed and 13th-seeded German Angelique Kerber both advanced in their delayed second-round matches.
Errani beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets, while Kerber dismissed Briton Heather Watson 7-5 3-6 6-4.
Order reigned in the third round for favourites. Former No. 1 and fourth seed Caroline Wozniacki beat Estonian Kaia Kanepi 4-6 6-1 6-3, eighth seed Ekaterina Makarova beat Elina Svitolina 6-0 6-4 and Andrea Petkovic (9th) beat France’s Kristina Mladenovic 6-0 6-2.
Russian Daria Gavrilova followed up her upset of second-seeded Maria Sharapova by beating Japan’s Kurumi Nara 6-0 7-6.