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.

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower