When the Wimbledon draw was made late last week, a potential “popcorn match” was eyed in the quarterfinals — world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, seeking her first Grand Slam title, against former Wimbledon champ and scream queen Maria Sharapova. On Saturday at Wimbledon both advanced into the fourth round, one step away from an anticipated meeting.
Sharapova on Saturday defeated Klara Zakopalova in an error-strewn match 6-2, 6-3, recovering from a break down in the second set.
“There’s no doubt you have to improve with the second week coming,” Sharapova said of her spotty performance. “The opponents get tougher, especially at a Grand Slam, so raising your level is what it’s all about in the second week.”
Sharapova will next face No. 20 seed Shuai Peng, who beat Melinda Czink 6-2, 7-6(5). Wozniacki was a mirror-opposite of Sharapova in her 6-3, 6-2 win over No. 27 seed Jarmila Gajdosova, making only six unforced errors.
Wozniacki has been criticized for her Wimbledon preparation, like Wimbledon champ Andre Agassi before her practicing for the grasscourts by playing on hardcourt. In the first week of the grasscourt season she played the indoor hardcourt WTA event in her home country of Denmark.
“I think I had great preparation,” Wozniacki said. “I came here a week early. I enjoy Wimbledon and I enjoy being here. Of course there are always things you can improve on, but I’ve been playing well this week. It’s not a surface we play on that often, but when we do, I always look forward to it.”
The world No. 1 will next face No. 24 seed Dominika Cibulkova, ousted No. 16 seed Julia Goerges 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.
“We grew up playing against each other in the juniors, so we know each other pretty well,” Wozniacki said of Cibulkova, previewing a match that will be more about consistency on both sides of the court. “She’s not a tall player, but she takes the ball early and tries to be aggressive. I need to keep my serve up, get a lot of balls back, try to take the initiative and make her run. We’ll see how it goes.”
No. 7 seed Serena Williams won her first straight-set match in three attempts this fortnight at Wimbledon, defeating No. 26 seed Maria Kirilenko 6-3, 6-2.
Former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic was also in action Saturday as the No. 18 seed, struggling as usual since her fall from the top of the rankings due to various injuries, illnesses and personal heartbreaks. She exited in straight sets to unseeded Czech Petra Cetkovska 6-2, 7-6(0).
Austrian Tamira Paszek was also an upset winner, defeating No. 6 seed Francesca Schiavone 11-9 in the third set.
Other winners into the second week were No. 9 Marion Bartoli who outlasted No. 21 Flavia Pennetta 5-7, 6-4, 9-7, and unseeded German wildcard Sabine Lisicki who continued her run by defeating Japanese qualifier Misaki Doi 6-4, 6-2.
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