Sharapova sinks Hsieh
Maria Sharapova (Getty Images)
London - Maria Sharapova cruised to a 6-1, 6-4 third round victory over Taiwain's Hsieh Su-Wei on Friday as the world number one set up a Wimbledon rematch with Sabine Lisicki.
Sharapova breezed past world number 63 Hsieh despite some serious issues with her serve in the windy conditions on Court One.
The French Open champion's reward for a typically gritty display is a last 16 meeting with German 15th seed Lisicki in a repeat of last year's Wimbledon semi-final clash which the Russian won in straight sets.
"It was definitely not an easy win," Sharapova said. "She is a tricky opponent and it was very tough conditions as well.
"It got a bit windy, but you have to handle whatever is out there. I felt I had to face a lot and be quite patient.
"Playing Lisicki will be a tough one. She obviously did really well here last year.
"She's a good grass-court player and I look forward to it."
Hsieh became the first Taiwanese woman to reach the third round at Wimbledon in the Open area after beating Stephanie Foretz Gacon in the previous round.
But the 26-year-old had only gone further in a grand slam once in her career -- when she reached the last 16 at the 2008 Australian Open -- and her hopes of emulating that feat against Sharapova always looked a long shot.
Sharapova, who won Wimbledon in 2004, was quick to impose herself on Hsieh with a break in the third game of the match.
Hsieh found it impossible to cope with Sharapova's potent combination of guile and brutal hitting and the Russian battered her way to another break for a 4-1 lead before serving out the first set.
It was all too easy for the 25-year-old at that point and she seemed to relax a little too much at the start of the second set as Hsieh secured her first break in the opening game.
That shook Sharapova out of her slumber and she responded with an immediate break of her own. But the Russian's serve suddenly went to pieces in spectacular fashion in the fifth game.
A second serve that sailed well wide of the target gave Hsieh a break point and the Taiwanese number one watched on gratefully as two more painfully miscued Sharapova serves presented her with an unexpected 3-2 lead.
But Hsieh couldn't take advantage of a golden chance to extend the match as Sharapova broke to level at 4-4.
The Russian celebrated with a triumphant roar and prolonged pumped fist, but again her serve landed her in trouble in the next game and she had to fight off a break point before finally closing out the win on her third match point.