Sprem shakes off injury to topple Maleeva

Karolina Sprem went to bed at 3am yesterday and got up four hours later, unable to sleep due to the pain from an ankle injury sustained on Sunday.

The 19-year-old Croatian's dream of making the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time was in doubt, and her stirring string of wins here, including the one against Venus Williams in the second round last week, seemed to have been in vain.

Adversity obviously works for her. By 1.30pm yesterday, after a remarkable straight-sets win, 6-4, 6-4, against Magdelena Maleeva, her last-eight berth was booked.

Sprem will next face Lindsay Davenport, the 1999 champion and the No 5 seed, although she insisted that her progress yesterday was more uncomfortable than it looked.

"It's great, perfect, unbelievable feeling," she said of winning. "[But] I didn't know before the match whether I would play or not. They taped me well, the leg, and I didn't feel the pain.

"But in the match it was difficult, thinking about the leg and not about the match. I needed to be concentrating on my next point but I just keep thinking about the leg. I was fighting against Maleeva and I was fighting against my leg."

It was evident Sprem was also fighting nerves, something she later admitted. Neither player could find a rhythm and almost every game went to deuce.

The players traded early breaks before Maleeva dropped her serve for the second time in the seventh game. That proved decisive in Sprem winning the first set in 32 minutes.

The second set followed the same pattern before Sprem secured the biggest win of her life on her fifth match point after Maleeva mis-hit a groundstroke. After completing her task, there was just one thing on Sprem's mind.

"I just want to go back to the hotel and sleep because I need to sleep," she said. She added that she hoped today would be a day off.

Unless the rain intervenes, it certainly won't be. Her match against Davenport has been scheduled second on Court No 1 this afternoon.

Asked if she felt she had momentum in this tournament, followed her wins over Maleeva (the No 21 seed), Meghann Shaughnessy (seeded No 32) and Williams (No 3), the unseeded Sprem was reluctant to take any further progress for granted.

"I don't know," she said. "It's a big deal being in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon. It's the first time I'm in the second week of a tournament.

"I'm just playing match by match, point by point. If I can win my next match, I'll be happy. I just want to go on court and play 100 per cent."

Predictably, Sprem was again asked about the controversial umpiring error in her match with Venus, and whether she thought it was a correct decision that the umpire, Ted Watts, will play no further role in the tournament. Sprem was erroneously awarded a point in the crucial second set tie-break of a match she won 7-6, 7-6.

"What can I say? It's not my business," she said.

"I leave this behind me. I don't want to think about this or talk about it any more. It's bad luck for the umpire, but he needed to do his job [accurately]. It's not my job to be thinking 'What's the score?'"

Pushed on whether she would do anything differently if a similar situation arose - the subtext to the question being whether she should have accepted a point knowing it had been wrongly given - she said: "I was confused. I didn't know what was happening."

Venus's misfortune became Sprem's good luck. But her misfortune at having to play Davenport so soon might yet prove to be beneficial to the American.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
News
peopleEnglishman managed the quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Flat out: Michael Flatley will return to the stage in his show Lord Of The Dance
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
i100
News
peoplePamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals
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.

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape