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.
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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.”