The former champion Maria Sharapova continued her smooth, relatively untested progress through the Wimbledon draw as she saw off Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania 6-4, 6-3 on Friday to book her place in the last 16.
After dropping serve in the opening game, the 2004 winner eased her way through the gears and, despite a late rally from the world No40, was good value for her win as she moved into the second week here for the 10th time.
With so much focus on Serena Williams and her quest for a 21st grand slam title, the Serena Slam and the third leg of the calendar year grand slam, Sharapova has been in the unusual position of being able to go about her business without too much fuss. It seems to be helping and her 83-minute victory means she is into the last 16 without losing a set.
“I got broken in the first game and made life a little difficult for myself,” Sharapova said. “But I played a good game to hold for 5-4 and then did well to break her. Once you get the first set you feel a bit more confident but she played really well at the end so I am very happy to get through.”
Begu had made it to the third round here for the first time and when she broke Sharapova’s serve in the first game a few murmurs could be heard on No1 Court. But the fourth seed broke back immediately and another break in the 10th game was enough to give her the set.
Sharapova then raced to a 5-0 lead but Begu hit back to win the next three games and the five-times grand slam champion, whose only issue was six double faults, had to stay strong to serve out for victory and a meeting with the unseeded Marina Diyas of Kazakhstan.
“I definitely have the belief [to win the title],” she said. “You don’t go out on the court for hours and hours to not have the belief. I absolutely have that and I hope I can end up the winner.”
This article was written by Simon Cambers at Wimbledon, for theguardian.com on Friday 3rd July 2015 17.56 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010