This is Serena Williams' tournament to win.
At least, that's what they're saying. The American star is a favorite of this year's Sony Ericsson Open.
The 30-year-old right hander has reached the finals in Miami seven times, winning the event five times (2002-2004, 2007, 2008).
A 13-time Grand Slam champion, Williams played in the 2012 Australian Open while trying to recover from an injury. (She had a 2011 season plagued with them). She lost in the fourth round Down Under in straight sets.
Williams returned to the court Thursday and beat wild card entry Shuai Zhang of China in one hour and 20 minutes. The final score was 6-2, 6-3.
If she continues to win, Williams is on path to meet 2011 US Open champion Sam Stosur in the fourth round and Maria Sharapova in the semifinals.
Belgian Kim Clijsters also advanced on Thursday, beating 14 seed Julia Goerges of Germany, 6-2, 7-5.