Defending champion Serena Williams defeated Maria Sharapova 7-6 (9), 6-4 on Monday to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals and avenge her loss to the Russian in the 2004 final. Serena served 19 aces. In the previous round she served 20 aces taking her total to 63 for the tournament. Williams, who hit four aces in the opening game, saved three set points in the tiebreaker to stay in command.
“I played really well and I thought I had my chances,” said Sharapova, who hurt her own cause with seven double faults. “If it was not for her really great serving, I certainly had a real good look at winning the match.” In 2004, Sharapova—17 years old at the time—stunned Williams 6-1, 6-4 for her first Grand Slam title.
“That was so long ago that I don’t think it gives me any more added or any less satisfaction,” Williams said after Monday’s match. “We’re both different players. She’s obviously improved. Hopefully I’ve improved since six years ago.” Sharapova came back from 3-1 down in the first set and had Williams on the ropes in the tiebreaker, but failed to convert. Leading 6-4, she hit a forehand into the net before Williams smacked a forehand winner to make it 6-6.
With Sharapova up 8-7, Williams hit a service winner to save another set point. At 9-all, Sharapova double-faulted. Williams then converted her third set point with her 13th ace. Serving for the match in the second set, Williams hit another ace and a service winner. She finished with 31 winners and 17 errors, while Sharapova had 14 winners and 18 errors. ''I had a few looks at her serve, but even when you had a good look and the ball's coming at you in 120s (mph), it's pretty tough to do much with it,'' Sharapova said.