Sharapova advances in 2 sets at Wimbledon

Former champion Maria Sharapova struggled with her game but reached the fourth round at Wimbledon by defeating Klara Zakopalova.

Wimbledon: Former champion Maria Sharapova struggled with her game but reached the fourth round at Wimbledon by defeating Klara Zakopalova 6-2, 6-3 on Saturday.

The fifth-seeded Russian, the only champion in the women`s draw other than the Williams sisters, had 21 unforced errors and four double-faults in an inconsistent baseline performance in windy conditions on Court 2.

But, after falling behind 3-1 in the second set, Sharapova lifted her game to win five games in a row to finish off the 35th-ranked Czech player.

Zakopalova struggled with her footing, slipping at least four times along the baseline.

Sharapova pumped her fist and shouted "Come on!" after hitting a forehand service return winner to break for 5-3 in the second set, then finished the match in the next game with another forehand winner down the line.

Sharapova, who won Wimbledon in 2004 at age 17, hasn`t reached the semifinals since 2006. She will face 20th-seeded Peng Shuai of China, who defeated Melinda Czink of Hungary 6-2, 7-6 (5).

In other play Saturday, defending champion Rafael Nadal resumed his third-round match on Court 1 against Gilles Muller of Luxembourg. The top-seeded Spaniard was leading 7-6 (6) when the match was suspended by rain Friday.
Four-time champion Serena Williams against Maria Kirilenko and fifth-seeded Robin Soderling against Australian teenager Bernard Tomic also were scheduled for Court 1.

Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, looking for a first Grand Slam title, was opening first on Centre Court against Jarmila Gajdosova. Six-time champion Roger Federer was up next against David Nalbandian, followed by No. 2 Novak Djokovic vs. Marcos Baghdatis.

With the help of an audacious between-the-legs trick shot, Andy Murray will head into the second week of Wimbledon again carrying the hopes of a nation for a first homegrown men`s champion in 75 years.

The fourth-seeded Murray advanced to the fourth round by defeating Ivan Ljubicic 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4) in a match that ended at nearly 10 p.m. Friday under the roof on Centre Court.

Rather than Murray`s big serve or two-handed backhand, the talk was all about the shot he pulled off in the seventh game of the fourth set.

After Ljubicic hit a short ball, Murray strolled forward toward the service line, hopped in the air, took his racket behind his back and casually flicked a shot through his legs. It floated over the net and landed in for a cross-court winner.

It was similar to a shot Murray hit during his victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final of the Queen`s Club grass-court tournament on June 13.
"It`s just one of those things that you`re just in the right position," Murray said. "I tried it at Queen`s and I tried it a couple of times in practice since. I haven`t missed one yet. You look like a plonker (fool) when you do, so I`m glad I made it."

Bureau Report

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