By the round of 32 at Wimbledon, all those left in should theoretically be seeds, and leading players who have come through two easy matches can expect something tougher. Before coming through 6-4, 6-3, Maria Sharapova duly found the Romanian seeded 29, Irina-Camelia Begu, providing stiffer opposition than her two previous adversaries had done.
At 5ft 11 Begu looked less physically intimidated than many of Sharapova's opponents. The 24 year-old Begu, whose preparations on grass at Birmingham and Eastbourne had both been limited by first round defeats, had regained confidence on the surface with two wins here. She was not afraid to come to the net either, which contributed to an entertaining first set before she began to run out of steam.
Breaking the former champion's serve in the very first game suggested a show-court appearance would not overawe her and one cheeky drop volley early on confirmed it.
Although broken back immediately, she clung on until 4-5, then over-hit in a long rally and was opened up cleverly by Sharapova to concede the first set.
It had taken almost three-quarters of an hour. Even after falling 5-0 behind in the second, Begu refused to go quietly, suddenly winning three games in a row - one of them with a second-serve ace, - before finally submitting.Reuse content