Sprem answers the hard questions

One of the biggest pitfalls in tennis is the let-down after the breakthrough triumph, but Karolina Sprem successfully avoided it yesterday in progressing to the last 16 of the women's singles.

The 19-year-old Croatian, who beat Venus Williams on Thursday in the most controversial match of the week, looked ripe for a fall when she took to Court Two against the experienced American Meg-hann Shaughnessy. But Sprem showed a maturity and resilience that augur well for her future in dismissing Shaughnessy 7-6, 7-6, making it four tie-breaks on the run.

"I'm a tie-break specialist, and it's OK," she grinned in a post-match press conference that also demanded a fair bit of maturity.

Neither of yesterday's shoot-outs had any of the controversy of the one which saw her beat the elder Williams. Then she profited from an umpiring error at 1-1 in the second set breaker which saw the score move to 2-2 after Williams won the third point. The umpire Ted Watts was subsequently removed from the rest of this Wimbledon, and various people have put their oar in to the subsequent debate, including Serena Williams and Andy Roddick.

But Sprem was having none of it. "I don't care, this is behind me," she replied to the first question about the controversy. "I'm not angry, that's for sure. I don't have reason to be angry. I don't have a problem with people saying things, but I don't want to talk about it any more." When asked whether she felt bad for the umpire who lost his job, she said: "Bad luck for him. We have so many people in the court and they need to know the score, not me. [In the heat of the moment] I was confused, I didn't know what was happening."

Such uncompromising views of the incident fit with her take on the entire victory over Williams. No, she wasn't surprised that she had won, but she knew she couldn't dwell on it. "Before I was going to sleep on Thursday," she said, "I was just saying: 'You need to forget this, it's a big win for you, but tomorrow is a new day, you need to rest and prepare for the next match'."

Such mental fortitude gave her the edge over Shaughnessy, whose form is beginning to improve after a lean start to the year. Sprem had considerable difficulty handling the American's serve and trailed for much of the first set. She won it on a 7-5 tie-break, but then couldn't get away from Shaughnessy in the second set until 6-5 when she served for the match, only to be broken. But Sprem was never behind in the tie-break, which she won 7-2.

Sprem today plays Maggie Maleeva, the Bulgarian veteran who dismissed Denisa Chladkova 7-5, 6-3 to reach the fourth round for only the third time in 12 visits to Wimbledon. With Venus Williams and Anastasia Myskina gone from the bottom half of the draw, Sprem is entitled to wonder whether she can go all the way to the final here.

In the top half of the draw Amélie Mauresmo still looks the biggest obstacle to Serena Williams winning a third consecutive title. The fourth-seeded French woman cruised to a 6-1, 6-4 win over Ludmila Cervanova, although her performance gave little indication about how she is likely to handle the latter stages of the tournament.

Mauresmo is enjoying watching the media frenzy focus on someone other than her. She smiled wryly when saying it was "interesting" to see just how much attention is foisted on Tim Henman by the British media, and clearly believes her chances are aided by so much less interest in her than she has to deal with at Roland Garros.

She also looks the most classical grass court player left in the women's draw, though whether she has the consistency, and the fitness, to damage Serena Williams, her likely semi-final opponent, remains to be seen. She is suffering from a thigh strain picked up in her semi-final defeat to Daniela Hantuchova in Eastbourne, which needs daily treatment and which she says "comes and goes". And she suffered from her serve deserting her midway through the second set of yesterday's match.

"I didn't serve quite as well as I wanted," she said, "and not as well as I did in my last match. So I got a little frustrated with that, which I shouldn't, but I don't get worried about it.

"I enjoy serving and volleying, and I enjoy mixing up the slice backhand and the hit-through backhand, which makes me feel comfortable on grass. It's also good for my game the rest of the year, too."

Jennifer Capriati, who beat Serena Williams in the French Open quarter-finals, is seeded to meet Williams in the same round here, though she has a tough fourth round match today against Nadia Petrova. Capriati, who has split from coach Heinz Günthardt because she got frustrated with the amount of time he was spending commentating on Swiss television, laboured to a 7-5, 6-1 win over Nathalie Dechy yesterday.

Having missed much of the early months of the year through injury, Capriati says she's feeling fresher, but has been bothered by the rain.

"It's hard with all the delays," she said. "It breaks up your rhythm. I feel like I came [to Wimbledon] with a really good rhythm, really sharp, but with the rain you sit around, and it's hard not to get sluggish and lose that quickness."

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
Life and Style
tech
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.

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style