Maria Sharapova and Azarenka Win to Advance to Wimbledon Quarterfinals
Former champion Maria Sharapova and No. 4 seed Victoria Azarenka both advanced to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon in straight sets.
The former top-ranked Sharapova beat Peng Shuai, the No. 20 seed from China, 6-4, 6-2 on Court 2 at the All England Club. It’s the Russian’s best result at Wimbledon since she made the semifinals in 2006.
Earlier this month, Sharapova reached her first semifinals at the French Open, where she lost to eventual champion Li Na of China. It was Sharapova’s first Grand Slam semifinal since she came back two years ago following a nine-month lay-off during which she had shoulder surgery.
“It’s great,” Sharapova said in a televised interview shortly after the match. “Last year, I lost in the fourth round against Serena Williams. This year, I am in the quarterfinals and am giving myself an opportunity to go further.”
Sharapova, who took the Wimbledon title aged 17 in 2004, has also won the 2006 U.S. Open and the 2008 Australian Open.
Peng is the third Chinese woman to reach the top 20 on the WTA Tour rankings. Peng, who has yet to win a tour title, beat Sharapova on hard courts in Beijing in 2009.
On Court 12, Sabine Lisicki, the German wildcard who ousted French Open champion Li Na in the second round, beat Czech Petra Cetkovska, 7-6 (7-3), 6-1. Victoria Azarenka from Belarus beat Russia’s Nadia Petrova, 6-2, 6-2. Both Azarenka and Lisicki also made the quarterfinals in 2009.
Australia’s Bernard Tomic, the youngest man left in the draw aged 18, moved to his first Grand Slam quarterfinal by beating Belgium’s Xavier Malisse, 6-1, 7-5, 6-4. Tomic, a qualifier, ousted No. 5 seed Robin Soderling of Sweden in the previous round.
After a day of rest yesterday on what’s traditionally called the Middle Sunday, the entire men’s and women’s fourth rounds are played on what’s dubbed Manic Monday. After frequent rain delays in the first week, temperatures have risen to as high as 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit), with thundery showers forecast later in the afternoon.
Opening the day on Centre Court, Andy Murray, the No. 4 seed from Britain, plays France’s Richard Gasquet. The Centre Court crowd rose to its feet when Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, sat down in the Royal Box shortly before the start of his match. Five-time champion Venus Williams plays Tsvetana Pironkova, a Bulgarian who beat the American at Wimbledon last year. Men’s top seed and defending champion Rafael Nadal of Spain plays former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina.
On Court No. 1, defending champion Serena Williams, playing in only her second tournament after almost a year away with injury and illness, faces 2007 finalist Marion Bartoli, the No. 9 seed from France. Second seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia meets France’s No. 19 seed, Michael Llodra, followed by six-time champion Roger Federer of Switzerland against Mikhail Youzhny, the No. 18 seed from Russia, in the last match of the day.
On Court 2, women’s top seed Caroline Wozniacki continues her quest for a first Grand Slam singles title against Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova. Mardy Fish, the only American man left in the singles draw, plays last year’s finalist, Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.