Sharapova advances after straight sets victory

Maria Sharapova reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the first time in five years today with a straight sets victory over Peng Shuai.

Sharapova, the 2004 champion, withstood some early pressure on her own serve from Peng before turning on the style to complete a comprehensive 6-4 6-2 win.



The Russian fifth seed has yet to drop a set in the championships and will face either Caroline Wozniacki or Dominika Cibulkova, who were next on Court Two, in the quarter-finals.



Sharapova had beaten Peng twice in their previous three meetings, including a three-set victory in the quarter-finals at Indian Wells earlier this year.



The three-time grand slam champion had to battle hard today as well - at least in the opening exchanges.



The one weakness is Sharapova's game at present is the inconsistency of her first serve, which caused her problems in the second round against British 17-year-old Laura Robson.



Sharapova only committed 10 unforced errors in the match but four of those were double faults - including one in her opening service game which gifted Peng the first of two early break points.



But Peng, making her debut in the Wimbledon fourth round, failed to take either and Sharapova ensured she did not get another look-in.



Sharapova clicked up a gear to break Peng for a 5-4 lead, sending the Chinese 25-year-old out wide with a fierce cross-court backhand before charging the net.



The Russian was mixing her game up well. She struck 19 winners in the set and was comfortable at the net, even against a player with such an impressive doubles pedigree as Peng.



And having secured the break, Sharapova served out for the set and then kept winning games, making it seven in a row as she broke Peng twice and raced into a 4-0 lead in the second set.



Sharapova was playing some near-faultless tennis as she took control, forcing Peng to push the envelope in the hope of finding a way back.



There was none. Peng held serve twice but it simply delayed Sharapova's inevitable path back into a Wimbledon quarter-final.



"Last year I lost in the fourth to Serena (Williams) and this year I find myself in the quarter-finals and I'm giving myself an opportunity to go even further," she said.





Sharapova has been reinstalled as title favourite - the position she held coming into the championships - following Serena Williams' defeat today.



"I'm in the quarters here for the first time since 2006. It's only going to get tougher from here," said Sharapova.



"I want to be even better, I want to keep improving. I still feel like I can. I just hope that I raise my level even more.



"It was really tough today because both of us served quite well to hold in the first eight games. I thought it was a high level of tennis.



"She just served well, served a few aces, and I couldn't break her. I thought I returned much better in the second set. That's what got me more breaks."

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific