Sharapova digs deep
Williams crushes Czink
Last Updated: June 28, 2012 9:22pm
Maria Sharapova: Hard fought victory against Pironkova
Former champions Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams booked their places in the third round with victories at Wimbledon on Thursday.
In contrast to world number one Sharapova, who had to dig deep to overcome Tsvetana Pironkova 7-6 (7/3) 6-7 (3/7) 6-0, Williams comprehensively out-gunned Hungarian qualifier Melinda Czink 6-1 6-4.
Top seed Sharapova had recovered from 5-2 down to take the first set and had just broken to move 3-1 ahead of the Bulgarian when play was suspended due to bad light on Wednesday evening.
But Pironkova, who reached the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2010 and the quarter-finals a year ago, fought back hard to grab the second set when the clash resumed on Thursday.
Sharapova's response however, was emphatic and she powered through the decider without dropping a game to set up a last 32 clash with Taiwan's Hsieh Su-Wei.
"I started so slow today," said the 25-year-old, who won Wimbledon in 2004. "But I guess it's more important how you finish.
"She loves playing on grass and came out firing. I was a bit tentative and just couldn't get much rhythm.
"But I tried to focus on my game and I'm happy I really stepped it up in that third set."
Sharapova admitted that her infamous grunting would be impossible to stop now even as the WTA admit a clampdown would be hard to enforce.
"Certainly not now, not since I've been doing it since I was four years old," she said. "It's definitely tough and impossible to do when you've played this sport for over 20 years."
Williams had little trouble in her second round tie on Centre Court, taking just 61 minutes to demolish Czink and book a date with Zheng Jie.
The four-time champion, who beat the Chinese 25th seed in the 2008 semi-finals, fired 10 aces, hit 22 winners and conceded just seven points on her serve as she eased into the last 32.
"As the tournament goes on, you tend to play a little better," said sixth seed. "It was great to be back on Centre Court. It's amazing and I served really well."
Second seed Victoria Azarenka also made serene progress as she claimed a 6-2 6-0 victory over Romani Oprandi of Switzerland.
The Australian Open champion needed just 51 minutes to book a place in the third round, where she will play Anabel Medina Garrigues or Jana Cepelova.