Wimbledon: Maria Sharapova downed China`s Peng Shuai 6-4, 6-2 in the Wimbledon fourth round on Monday to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2006.
The first set was a closely-fought affair with little between the Russian fifth seed and the Chinese number two, but the 2004 Wimbledon champion was able to impose herself much more in the second set against the 20th seed.
"It`s great," Sharapova said after wrapping up victory in an hour and 21 minutes.
"I`m giving myself an opportunity to go even further so I`m quite happy about that.
"I have to be realistic about the fact that I hadn`t gotten past the fourth round in a few years so this a step forward and it`s just about taking care of business in the next round."
She will face either Danish world number one Caroline Wozniacki or Slovakia`s 24th seed Dominika Cibulkova on Tuesday for a place in the semi-finals.
Sharapova was being cheered on by her fiance Sasha Vujacic, the Slovenian basketball player with the New Jersey Nets.
The first two games went to deuce and took nearly quarter of an hour to complete with both players firing hard-hitting, flat shots.
Sharapova`s game started to come together in the fourth game, which she won with a lob.
However, Peng hung in with some stylish defensive tennis and stayed with the former world number one to 4-4.
The Russian had three break points and though Peng pulled it back to 30-40, she could not stop Sharapova going into the net to finish the game off.
The fifth seed then took the set, winning the next game and sealing it with an ace.
In the second set, Sharapova was too good and broke twice, racing into a 4-0 lead before pressing on to close out the victory.
The match was played in scorching conditions in the 4,000-seater Court Two, a marked change from the rain-interrupted first week.
"It`s like playing a completely different tournament, you see everyone putting sunscreen on, I even had the icepack out," Sharapova said. "I`m used to it, I grew up in Florida."
Peng, who was the only remaining Chinese in the singles following French Open winner Li Na`s shock second round defeat, is on a career-high world ranking of 20 and is the highest-ranked player without a singles title to her name.
Peng was looking to become the third Chinese to reach the quarter-finals after Li and Zheng Jie.