• Wimbledon, Day Four

Sharapova survives scare as Serena marches on

ESPN staff
June 28, 2012

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World No. 1 Maria Sharapova showcased all her battling qualities as she took a step closer to a second Wimbledon title after surviving a tricky second round clash against Tsvetana Pironkova.

The Russian, who completed a career Grand Slam at the French Open earlier this month, edged past the Bulgarian 7-6(3) 6-7(3) 6-0.

Sharapova had to save five set points against the Bulgarian, snatching the opening set on a tiebreak before bad light brought an end to their match on Wednesday. As the light faded on Court One, Sharapova grabbed an early break in the second set.

However, Pironkova, a former semi-finalist at the All England Club, started the brighter on Thursday, breaking the Russian immediately to claw her way back into the match as the frailties on her serve which has cost Sharapova further major glory, began to reappear.

As the match went to a decider after the second tiebreak went Pironkova's way, Sharapova's determination saw her claim a crucial break. That seemed to dent Pironkova's confidence, and despite some resolute defence was helpless to prevent Sharapova streaking away to victory.

Sharapova, who will face Hsieh Su-Wei in the third round, is bidding to become the first woman in a decade to win the French Open and Wimbledon titles back-to-back. The last woman to achieve the feat was Serena Williams, who also progressed to the third round unscathed with a 6-1 6-4 victory over Melinda Czink.

The four-time Wimbledon champion fired ten aces as she blazed past the Hungarian qualifier in a shade over an hour. An early break put Williams in the driving seat and she never relinquished control as she breezed into the third round where she will meet Zheng Jie, who defeated Aleksandra Wozniak 6-4 6-2.

Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka breezed into the third round for the loss of just two games as she dispatched Romina Oprandi 6-2 6-0 in under an hour.

Former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic had the measure of Kateryna Bondarenko with a 6-3 7-6(3) win. She will meet Julia Goerges in round three after the German beat Anastasiya Yakimova 7-6(3) 6-2.

There was an upset on Court 12 as Croatian qualifier Mirjana Lucic stunned former finalist and No. 9 seed Marion Bartoli 6-4 6-3, while Caroline Wozniacki's conqueror Tamira Paszek eased past Alize Cornet.

Eighth seed Angelique Kerber is safely through to the third round following a 7-5 6-3 win over Russian Ekaterina Makarova. Kerber will face Christina McHale in the third round after the American defeated MathildeJohansson 7-5 7-5.

Francesca Schiavone, who ended Laura Robson's Wimbledon campaign, eased into the third round with a 6-4 6-4 win over Kristyna Pliskova.

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