No Williams in the quarters? Over to you Maria

London: The rare sight of neither Williams sister in the Wimbledon quarter-finals will have the remaining eight women in the draw buzzing with the possibility of reaching the final, none more so than 2004 champion Maria Sharapova.

Only once since 1998 has the quarter-final lineup not included Serena or Venus, in 2006, and with fifth seed Sharapova the only grand slam champion left the title now seems hers to lose.

However, the Russian three-times grand slam champion is not the highest seed still in the tournament, fourth seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus just pips her, and she has feisty 24th seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia to contend with next.

Cibulkova sprung into life after a first-set pummeling by world number one Caroline Wozniacki to produce some devastating ground strokes of her own and will test all of Sharapova`s skill.

First up on Center Court is Sabine Lisicki of Germany, seeking to become the first wildcard to win the women`s singles, against ninth seed Marion Bartoli of France who is fresh from a morale-boosting win over Serena.

Over on Court One, last year`s surprise semi-finalist Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic plays Bulgarian 32nd seed Tsvetana Pironkova, who also upset the odds to reach the last four in 2010.

Finally, the unseeded Tamira Paszek of Austria takes on the noisy Azarenka.

Bureau Report

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