Serena Williams won the latest instalment of her rivalry with sister Venus as the world No 1 eased into the Wimbledon quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-3 victory on Monday.
Serena, bidding for her sixth Wimbledon title, took just 67 minutes to see off Venus on Centre Court and will play Victoria Azarenka, who downed Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic 6-2, 6-3, for a place in the semifinals.
The 33-year-old hit 36 winners and 10 aces to secure her 14th win in 26 meetings with her older sister, but it was clear neither sibling enjoyed the experience.
“It’s hard to feel excited about (beating) someone you root for all the time no matter what and you love so much and is your best friend in the world,” Serena said.
“It’s never easy to play someone you love and care about.
“But I don’t know how many more moments like this we’ll have. I plan on playing for years but you never know if we’ll have the opportunity to face each other. So I just took the moment in.”
With the awkward family reunion out of the way, Serena can refocus on her bid to rewrite the history books.
The American, whose record for the year now stands at a remarkable 36-1, remains on course to become the first woman to win the French Open and Wimbledon back-to-back since she last achieved that feat in 2002.
She is on a 25-match winning run at the majors, a blistering sequence that brought her the 2014 US Open crown and the Australian and French Open titles this year.
Serena will hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time if she wins a sixth Wimbledon crown on Saturday.
That would also leave the 20-time Grand Slam champion needing only to win the US Open in August to become the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1988 to land all four majors in the same year.
Maria Sharapova endured her toughest match of the tournament so far at Wimbledon but still made it through to the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas on Monday.
The Russian fourth seed, who won the 2004 title, has yet to drop a set but came through what was by far her longest match of the tournament in the 97-minute contest on the 11 000-seater Court One.
She faces Coco Vandeweghe in Tuesday’s quarterfinals after the US world number 47 knocked out Czech sixth seed Lucie Safarova, last month’s beaten French Open finalist, their fourth round encounter.
Sharapova had a nervy start against world number 34 Diyas and was 3-1 down in the second set but the 28-year-old’s experience told and she looked delighted at the end.
“The further you go, the tougher it gets. My opponent is a really good grasscourt player, stayed really low and hit so hard so I really had to be ready for all her shots,” Sharapova said.
“Coming into this tournament, I didn’t have a warm-up event and I wanted to start off strong and give a good chance for myself.
“I thought I’ve been doing good but as we all know, it only gets tougher from here.
“It’s a great position to be in. I lost at this stage last year so was extremely happy to go a round further and continue.”
The Siberian won Wimbledon 11 years ago but has only made it past the fourth round once since 2006.
French Open runner-up Lucie Safarova was sent tumbling out by unseeded American Vandeweghe.
Vandeweghe, the world number 47, edged out the Czech sixth seed 7-6 (7/1), 7-6 (7/4) on Court 3 to reach the quarterfinals of a major for the first time.
Vandeweghe took the fourth round contest to match point with an ace, then won it with an unreturned serve.
Safarova, 28, reached the semifinals at Wimbledon last year and made it to her first Grand Slam singles final last month when she lost to Serena Williams in the French Open final.
Vandeweghe, meanwhile, had never been beyond the third round of a Grand Slam before this year’s Wimbledon.
Safarova was the third seed in a row she has downed, after defeating Karolina Pliskova and Samantha Stosur on her way to the fourth round.
Beating Safarova is only the fourth time in 17 attempts that Vandeweghe has overcome a top 10 player.
RADWANSKA OUSTS JANKOVIC
Agnieszka Radwanska booked her spot in the quarterfinals with a 7-5, 6-4 win over former world No 1 Jelena Jankovic.
The Polish 13th seed defeated the Serbian 28th seed – who knocked out defending champion Petra Kvitova in the third round – in an hour and 43 minutes.
Radwanska, the 2012 Wimbledon runner-up, faces Madison Keys of the United States, the 21st seed, in Tuesday’s quarterfinals.
Jankovic lost her cool with the umpire towards the end of the match, telling him: “We’re humans here.
“Well done. I don’t want to speak to you.”
KEYS RECOVERS TO ADVANCE
Keys was the first woman through to the women’s quarterfinals with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over qualifier Olga Govortsova.
The US 21st seed was stunned by the Belarusian world number 122 in the first set on Court 18 but turned it around to win the fourth round contest in an hour and 33 minutes.
Keys, 20, reached her first Grand Slam semifinal at this year’s Australian Open.
Govortsova, 26, was the only qualifier to reach the last 16.
Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky reached her first Wimbledon quarterfinal with a 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 win over Romania’s Monica Niculescu.
The 15th seed, who made the French Open semifinals last month, takes on either Caroline Wozniacki or Garbine Muguruza for a place in the semifinals.
© AFP via SuperSport
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