Sharapova playing it cool

Maria Sharapova, the French Open champion, faces a tough schedule if she is to advance at Wimbledon

Maria Sharapova, the French Open champion, faces a tough schedule if she is to advance at Wimbledon

First published in National Sport News © by

French Open champion Maria Sharapova is looking to make up for lost time by securing a quarter-final place at Wimbledon on Tuesday.

Sharapova, whose lone Wimbledon triumph came a decade ago, was unable to tackle Angelique Kerber on Monday evening after rain delays caused fresh havoc with the schedule.

Tournament officials decided shortly before 8pm there was a strong chance of their match, the third to be played on Court One, not finishing before nightfall.

Centre Court will therefore stage the delayed contest, with the target for the winner a showdown with dangerous Canadian Eugenie Bouchard in the quarter-finals on Wednesday. The winner of that would then have a semi-final on Thursday, before taking a welcome day off prior to Saturday's final.

Sharapova has been playing it cool in London, even if the prospect of a second Wimbledon title is hard to ignore.

"I don't like to categorise each tournament. I like to go about my business as it's any other day," said the 27-year-old Russian.

"Just because I'm in London or Paris, playing the French or Wimbledon, I like to keep those routines the same. I think that helps you mentally because it doesn't matter if you're playing a smaller tournament or a grand slam, you know what works for you and you try to carry that through."

Sharapova and Kerber are far from alone in facing a backlog. On the traditional women's quarter-final day, two more fourth-round matches were on the programme, with Romanian third seed Simona Halep tackling Kazakhstan's Zarina Diyas on Court Two and German Sabine Lisicki facing another Kazakh, Yaroslava Shvedova, on Court Three.

WTA Tour break-out star Bouchard secured a place in the quarter-finals by beating Alize Cornet under the roof on Centre Court as rain thundered down outside.

The 20-year-old from Montreal, who was named after Princess Eugenie, has reached semi-finals at the Australian and French Opens already this year and is targeting her first grand slam title.

"The main thing is the confidence I have added since the beginning of the year. I believe in myself. Every match I play, I believe I can win," said the 2012 Wimbledon junior champion.

The semi-final line-up in the bottom half of the draw should be known by nightfall, with the 2011 champion Petra Kvitova taking on fellow Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova on Centre Court, and their countrywoman Lucie Safarova facing Russian Ekaterina Makarova on Court One.

Zahlavova Strycova followed up her surprise win against second seed Li Na by reaching her maiden grand slam quarter-final with a 6-2 7-5 victory over Caroline Wozniacki.

Kvitova, the 2011 champion, defeated China's Shuai Peng 6-3 6-2, while Safarova won out 6-0 6-2 against another Czech, qualifier Tereza Smitkova. Makarova claimed perhaps the most eye-catching win on Monday, bustling to a 6-3 6-0 victory over Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

Lisicki fended off Ana Ivanovic in a three-set test to earn her shot at Shvedova, who was afforded the day off when third-round opponent Madison Keys abandoned their match due to injury. It had been finely poised at 7-6 6-6 in the Czech's favour when darkness fell on Saturday night, and American teenager Keys could not run off a thigh problem.

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