Former Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova defeated China's Peng Shuai 6-4, 6-2 to reach the women's singles quarterfinals at the 125th Wimbledon Championships on Monday.
Maria Sharapova of Russia serves the ball during the women's singles fourth round match against Peng Shuai of China at the 2011 Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Great Britain, June 27, 2011. Sharapova won 2-0. (Xinhua/Tang Shi)
The fifth seed Sharapova from Russia met strong challenges from the world No. 20 Peng in the opening set but was calm enough to break in the ninth game.
"It was really tough because I think both of us served quite well to hold in the first eight games. I thought it was a high level of tennis," said the 24-year-old Sharapova.
The three-time Grand Slam champion then dominated the second set, moving past the last 16 round for the first time in five years.
"I was really ready for her to play well today because she has a great game for the grass courts," Sharapova commented on Peng, who has already achieved her best result at Wimbledon after reaching the fourth round. "She stays really low and hits the ball hard and flat and fast. So you really have to be ready for each shot."
Sharapova hired Thomas Hogstedt as his coach this season and the Swede was not only the former coach of French Open champion Li Na but also worked with the Chinese national team for a few years. However, the Russian ace didn't think she got any advantage through Hogstedt while facing Chinese players.
"I played against many Chinese players before I started working with Thomas. I have a lot of experience playing against them. I know their games quite well. I've been on the tour for many years. I don't think it has anything to do with it," said Sharapova.
Sharapova, who won her first ever Grand Slam title here in 2004, will lock horns with Slovak Dominika Cibulkova, who edged out world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki from Denmark 1-6, 7-6 (5), 7-5.