• Wimbledon

Ruthless Sharapova rips apart Riske

ESPN staff
June 28, 2014
Maria Sharapova needed just 69 minutes to reach the last 16 © Getty Images

After an early wobble on Centre Court, Maria Sharapova powered her way past Alison Riske in ruthless fashion to secure a last-16 spot as she bids for a second Wimbledon title 10 years on from her first.

The 2004 champion was broken in the opening game of the match but clawed her way back into the first set at 3-3 before reeling off 11 consecutive games to romp to a 6-3 6-0 victory in just 69 minutes under the roof.

The result moved her one step closer to a quarter-final meeting with Serena Williams, but Sharapova admitted she was just relieved to reach the second week having exited SW19 in the second round last year.

"I'm just happy to be in the second week after last year's result," said Sharapova, who hit an impressive 25 winners and won 81 percent of her points on her first serve.

"I was looking forward to coming back very soon and here I am giving myself another chance.

"I felt better as the match went on. She's a great grass-court player and she's had some of her best results on surface. I knew it would be a challenge. It was a slow start but otherwise I'm happy I got there."

Sharapova's match was second on Centre Court as rain played havoc with Saturday's outside-court schedule and she admitted her relief at not having to play catch-up.

"You never know the schedule until the evening prior to when you play," she added. "I didn't know the forecast - I don't like to look at it, I just want to go with the flow. But I'm certainly happy I got my match in today."

Riske took the initiative with an immediate break as Sharapova failed to settle in the early stages, showing signs of being antagonised as she gave a sarcastic clap of her racquet during the first game, followed by a very pointed Hawkeye challenge - which proved correct - in her second service game.

However, Sharapova dug out a break-back point before Riske double faulted to leave the first set tied at 3-3.

Sharapova then held by firing a winner down the line and the tide of the first set had fully turned when she broke again for 5-3 as Riske planted a forehand wide. After bringing up two set points, Sharapova only needed one to wrap the opener up in 42 minutes.

This time it was Sharapova who got the break in the opening game of the set before she added two more and served out a second-set bagel for the win.

Sharapova next faces Heather Watson's conqueror Angelique Kerber, after the German ninth seed defeated 2013 semi-finalist Kirsten Flipkens 3-6 6-3 6-2.

Elsewhere, Simona Halep - whom Sharapova beat in the French Open final - secured a 6-4 6-1 win over last year's junior girls' champion Belinda Bencic.

Halep will face 20-year-old Kazakh Zarina Diyas, appearing in just her third grand slam, after she beat former finalist Vera Zvonareva 7-6(1) 3-6 6-3.

Meanwhile, Eugenie Bouchard reached the second week for a third straight grand slam after beating Andrea Petkovic 6-3 6-4.

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