Maria Sharapova was accused of a lack of sportsmanship after she beat America’s Coco Vandeweghe in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.
Russian Sharapova sealed her 20th grand slam semi-final appearance with a hard-fought 6-3 6-7 (3/7) 6-2 victory on Centre Court, and will next face Serena Williams, a player she has not defeated since 2004.
After coming off court against Sharapova, Vandeweghe claimed her opponent had tried to put her off while she served.
At one point the 23-year-old, who had never reached a major quarter-final before, made a complaint to the umpire and added she would speak to Sharapova if the official was too “scared” to do so.
“What I experienced, what I felt from her moving around in between my serving motion was not, I don’t think, sportsmanlike,” Vandeweghe said.
“I try to play as fair as I can. When I felt like it wasn’t being reciprocated, that’s when I spoke with the umpire for her to deal with.”
Vandeweghe added: “She said she didn’t believe she was doing it during the motion. I strongly disagreed.
“Towards the later end of the second set, I said if she has a problem speaking to Maria, if she’s too scared to do it, I had no problem speaking to her.”
Sharapova refused to be drawn on the accusations.
“It is what it is,” the 2004 Wimbledon champion said. “What she said, I’m not going to argue against her words.”
Sharapova also deflected questions about her grunting, which was at its most piercing and grew louder as the match went on.
“I don’t say anything. Do I have to?” Sharapova said. “I have nothing to say. It’s nothing new. It’s not a new question.”
Vandeweghe admitted she was unaffected by the noise from her opponent.
“That didn’t bother me whatsoever,” Vandeweghe said. “It didn’t faze me, nor did I think about it.”
Sharapova overpowered Vandeweghe in the first set and then served for the match in the second before her opponent came back to win the tie-break and force a decider.
Vandeweghe insists her nerves in the early stages did not stem from playing Sharapova and, instead, claims she was surprised at how easily she kept pace with the world number four.
“Was I nervous about playing Sharapova? No. I think the nerves were more just from being out there in general,” Vandeweghe said.
“I wasn’t taken aback by her whatsoever from a game standpoint.
“It was actually a bit surprising how easily I handled her balls sometimes, from what you see on TV, then what you experience live in person.”
Williams won through also in three sets, with the 20-time grand slam champion fending off Belarusian Victoria Azarenka 3-6 6-2 6-3, and their Thursday semi-final will be keenly anticipated.
On the other side of the draw, Spain’s first-time grand slam semi-finalist Garbine Muguruza will tackle former Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska, who overcame big-hitting American Madison Keys 7-6 (7/3) 3-6 6-3.
Muguruza beat Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky 7-5 6-3 to reach her first major semi-final.
It is also the first time a Spanish woman has made it through to the last four at Wimbledon since Arantxa Sanchez Vicario achieved the feat in 1997.
“I’m surprised that my first semi-final is on grass,” said Muguruza. “But I think I’m playing really well. I
think the surface helps me.”