Sharapova progress continues

Former Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova’s bid for a third title on the grass at Edgbaston remains on course after she moved into the quarter-finals.

Former Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova’s bid for a third title on the grass at Edgbaston remains on course after she moved into the quarter-finals.

The Russian dispatched Francesca Schiavone 6-1 6-3 in a little more than an hour to reach the last eight of the AEGON Classic in Birmingham.

Sharapova, who had earlier had to come back to break American Alexa Glatch’s serve in one game to complete a 6-3 6-4 victory which had begun on Wednesday afternoon, had little trouble in seeing off her Italian opponent.

“It’s never easy, but everyone has to deal with these situations,” Sharapova said of the rain-enforced delay. It’s tricky, but I’m glad I could make it.“

The 22-year-old, champion on these courts in 2004 and 2005, is starting to rediscover the form which saw her win Wimbledon five years ago.

A shoulder injury sidelined her for 10 months last year and she is only just starting to climb back up the world rankings (she is currently 73rd) having slipped out of the top 100.

Sharapova now faces Belgian Yanina Wickmayer, who saw off 14th seed Roberta Vinci 6-1 6-4 after earlier defeating Michaella Krajicek 6-2 6-4.

British number two Elena Baltacha failed to get past the second round – her match against Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova having been delayed a day because of bad weather.

Despite taking the first set on a tie-break Pavlyuchenkova, the fifth seed, fought back strongly to take the match into a final set which went her way in the tie-break.

“I’m disappointed with the loss. I did have quite a few opportunities in the match but I think I’ve got to be positive,” she said.

“On paper, I wasn’t favourite to win but I managed to stay in there with her and play some really good tennis.”

Pavlyuchenkova then went on to lose 7-6 3-6 6-2 to India’s Sania Mirza, who had defeated British number one Anne Keothavong yesterday.

Mirza faces 16th seed Melinda Czink, of Hungary, after she beat Barbora Zahlavova Strycova and then third seed Aleksandra Wozniak.

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