WTA Madrid Open: Maria Sharapova defeats Sabine Lisicki to reach last eight
Last Updated: 10/05/13 10:02am
Maria Sharapova moved into the quarter-finals of the Madrid Open with her 19th straight clay court victory as she eased past Sabine Lisicki, 6-2 7-5.
The Russian former world No 1 proved too powerful for her German opponent with a couple of breaks in the opening set.
Lisicki put up a stronger challenge in the second and was only broken in the 11th game.
Sharapova, 26, used her big serve to finish the third-round match off in one hour and 42 minutes and the four-time Grand Slam champion will face either Daniela Hantuchova or Kaia Kanepi next.
The impressive performance from Sharapova marked steps towards the Russian defending her French Open crown in a few weeks time.
And the world No 2 said: "It took me many years to get to the level of where I am today. It certainly didn't happen overnight.
"I worked extremely hard on getting stronger and recovering better, moving better on the court, giving myself a better position on the court, especially after being on the defensive and trying to play aggressively as I always do on quicker surfaces.
"Sometimes when you feel like you have everything or you won everything, it can be pretty easy to just say, why do I need it again? But I find a lot motivation in going back and trying to defend my title."
Also on Thursday, top-ranked Serena Williams produced a commanding performance to defeat Maria Kirilenko 6-3 6-1 in just over an hour.
The defending champion dominated Kirilenko, who withered after dropping the first set with one of several unforced errors and the 12th-ranked Russian was worked back and forth for much of the second.
Williams lost just two points on her serve in her last five service games, hitting 22 winners on Caja Magica's red clay court.
She will next face local favorite Anabel Medina Garrigues, who reached the quarter-finals with a walkover after Yaroslava Shvedova withdrew due to an injured right arm.
And Estonian Kaia Kanepi kept up her good form by brushing aside Daniela Hantuchova from Slovakia 6-3 6-4.