Sharapova prepares to face big-serving Vandeweghe

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Delight: Sharapova.

No 4 seed Maria Sharapova will need to find her best return game when she takes on American cannon-server Coco Vandeweghe in the quarter-finals on Tuesday.

– SW19 review: A look back at week one of Wimbledon 2015
– Gallery: The top-ten greatest Wimbledon upsets in history 
– Wimbledon: Serena beats Venus to reach quarter-finals
– Wimbledon: Murray secures quarter-final place with victory over Karlovic

Sharapova, who is back in the Wimbledon last eight for the first time since 2011, overcame a tricky opponent yesterday in Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan.

The Russian 2004 champion had to fight from a break down in the second set to beat Diyas 6-4, 6-4 in one hour 37 minutes.

Vandeweghe is third on the ladies’ aces leader board for the tournament with 37 struck in four matches, which has helped her storm into the quarter-finals of a major for the first time in her career, thanks to a 7-6 (1), 7-6 (4) win over last year’s semi-finalist and No 6 seed Lucie Safarova.

Safarova’s exit meant that none of last year’s eight quarter-finalists at Wimbledon have managed to make the quarters here this year.

Vandeweghe had never made it past the third round at a major prior to this fortnight and Sharapova knows the 23-year-old’s serve is her biggest asset.

“I think it’s been a tremendous effort for her to get to this stage of the tournament,” Sharapova said of Vandeweghe. “With the serve she has, her game really revolves around that serve, and she’s been using it quite effectively.

“The return will be extremely important, especially taking care of my service games. It’s always tricky playing against a really good server on grass because a few points here and there can ultimately tell the difference in the winner and the loser.”

Vandeweghe is one of three Americans in the women’s quarter-finals, along with Serena Williams and Madison Keys – the first time that’s happened since 2004 when Serena, Lindsay Davenport and Jennifer Capriati all made the last eight at the All England Club.

Keys struggled to beat Olga Govortsova yesterday 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 but the No 21 seed is feeling confident heading into her quarter-final with Agnieszka Radwanska.

She said: “When I’m walking out onto the courts, I definitely feel people are expecting me to win but also I expect me to win. That’s a different pressure that I’m putting on myself. I think I have handled it pretty well so far.” 

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Wozniacki hits out at Wimbledon over scheduling

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Annoyed: Wozniacki.

Caroline Wozniacki feels women are not scheduled fairly on the bigger courts at Wimbledon after the world No 5 crashed out of the tournament to No 20 seed Garbine Muguruza 6-4, 6-4 on Monday.

– SW19 review: A look back at week one of Wimbledon 2015
– Gallery: The top-ten greatest Wimbledon upsets in history 
– Wimbledon: Serena beats Venus to reach quarter-finals

With no tennis played on Middle Sunday, all last 16 matches of both the men and women were played yesterday with the ladies all scheduled early on six different courts so they could have the maximum time possible to rest before returning for the quarter-finals today.

That unique scheduling – which does not happen at the other three grand slams – meant that Wozniacki played her fourth round against Muguruza on Court No 2.

Only two ladies matches were scheduled on the big courts with Serena Williams taking on her sister Venus on Centre Court and Maria Sharapova facing Zarina Diyas on Court No 1.

Wozniacki called out the organisers, implying that the scheduling was preferential towards the men.

“I would love to play on a big court. I think that’s what it’s all about. You work hard and practice to play on the big courts,” said Wozniacki, a former world No 1.

“The women really haven’t gotten the opportunity here to play on the big courts. You only get one women’s match on Court 1 and Centre Court. Most of last week it was only one women’s match on Court 2 as well.

“It’s definitely different. That’s all I can say.I think a lot of us women feel like we deserve to play on the big courts in front of a big crowd, as well.”

Wozniacki, who has made it to the fourth round here on five occasions but has never reached the quarter-finals, admits Wimbledon feels different due to Middle Sunday and the unusual scheduling.

“It feels different for some reason. I think if you’re in the fourth round in a grand slam, in any of the other slams you know you’re going to play on a big court because there’s very few matches left,” she added.

“Then all of a sudden here you come into the second week – I think it’s great for the spectators, they get to see top players on outside courts – but you kind of feel like you have to start over.”

Meanwhile, Muguruza was delighted after she entered her first career quarter-final at Wimbledon and will take on Swiss No 15 seed Timea Bacsinszky today.

Bacsinszky has a fairytale story that saw her stop playing tennis – she struggled psychologically due to abuse suffered in her childhood from her father – only to return to tennis and reach No 15 in the world.

“She has a reason to play, when you have something like this inside. Every time you go to the court, you want to fight and win,” Muguruza said of Bacsinszky, who made the French Open semis last month. 

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Djokovic forced to resume R16 clash on Tuesday

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Comeback: Djokovic.

Darkness interrupted Novak Djokovic’s bid to complete a comeback from two sets down for only the fourth time in his career last night, and the world No 1 will return to Court 1 today to face Kevin Anderson in their suspended last-16 clash.

– SW19 review: A look back at week one of Wimbledon 2015
– Gallery: The top-ten greatest Wimbledon upsets in history 
– Wimbledon: Serena beats Venus to reach quarter-finals
– Wimbledon: Murray secures quarter-final place with victory over Karlovic

After falling behind 6-7 (6), 6-7 (6) to the huge-hitting Anderson – seeded No14 – Djokovic dug deep to fight back and took the next two sets 6-1, 6-4 to force a deciding fifth.

But the fading light forced umpire Carlos Bernardes to make the call of suspending the match until today with the fifth set yet to be played.

The last time Djokovic went two sets down at a grand slam was when he lost the US Open final to Andy Murray in 2012. He managed to come back from the same deficit and win against Andreas Seppi in the French Open fourth round in 2012.

Anderson, meanwhhile, is bidding to avoid becoming the first player in the Open Era to have reached the round of 16 at a grand slam seven times and never gone on to reach the quarter-finals.

He climbed from 2-5 down in the second set tie-break playing some epic tennis, including a stunning volley winner in order to go two sets up. But the momentum swung Djokovic’s way and the defending champion gave out a Hulk-like roar when he took the next two sets to level the match.

The winner of the contest will take on US Open champion Marin Cilic who beat American Dennis Kudla 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 to reach the quarter-finals at the All England Club for a second straight year.

Andy Murray was another high seed tortured by a powerful server but the world No 3 withstood 29 aces from Ivo Karlovic to advance with a 7-6 (7), 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 win in a three-hour three-minute contest on Centre Court and reach his eighth consecutive quarter-final at Wimbledon.

Murray hit 62 winners and committed just nine unforced errors against the 36-year-old Croatian and somehow managed to break his serve twice.

“I took a little bit off the first serve. I wasn’t serving as hard as usual to try and not allow him the opportunity to sort of go for huge returns or try to come to net off the second serve return. So I went for a high percentage of first serves,” said Murray of his tactical approach.

“I came up with some good lobs and passing shots. I just needed to keep him low. When I was in the rallies, I felt comfortable. But, yeah, against him, it’s a tactical match, but it’s tough. It’s quite stressful to play against him.”

Murray’s next opponent is Canadian Vasek Pospisil, who is thrilled to make his grand slam singles quarter-final debut despite having to go through 10 sets of tennis yesterday, five in singles to beat Viktor Troicki 4-6, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 and five in doubles (alongside Jack Sock) in a loss to Murray’s brother Jamie and his partner John Peers. 

“Obviously I played a lot of tennis, but one day recovery is a lot. So I can sleep well tonight. Just have a full day of rest tomorrow. Do a lot of recovery and stuff. Then come out strong on Wednesday and take it to him,” said Pospisil.

Seven-time champion Roger Federer was untroubled against Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut, outclassing the No 20 seed – who needed medical treatment for a foot problem during the match – 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.

“It was nice to play a baseliner after two big servers (Sam Groth and Sam Querrey). I did a nice job making the transition. Clearly I felt I had more time on the return, still was able to play aggressive tennis,” said Federer, who next faces Wimbledon quarter-final debutant Gilles Simon.

“I’m happy to be back in the quarters here. This is really when it gets much more interesting because obviously your opponents are going to get tougher and tougher.”

Simon stunned No 6 seed and former runner-up Tomas Berdych with an easy 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 victory in a match that had a 15-minute interruption when a spectator collapsed in the stands and was stretchered off by medics.

For Simon it will be his first last-eight spot at a major since the 2009 Australian Open. Federer, who holds a 5-2 career record against the Frenchman, said: “I’m sure Gilles is happy to be in the quarters but I hope to stop that run now.”

The day got considerably weirder for Berdych when a journalist mistakenly congratulated him for his win and asked him how he felt about making the quarter-finals.

On appearing in the post-match press conference, the Czech was asked: “Do you feel in good shape going into the quarter-finals?”

“Is he trying to make fun of me?” asked a bemused Berdych.

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