Maria Sharapova survived Coco Vandeweghe’s power strokes to progress to her fifth Wimbledon semi-final, where she will face American Serena Williams.
The Russian fourth seed survived a mid-match blip to close out a 6-3 6-7(3-7) 6-2 win in two hours and 47 minutes.
No. 47 ranked Vandeweghe was the only unseeded player in the last eight. Aside pushing the former champion far in the opening game which witnessed four break points, the American hardly withstood Sharapova who took a 1-set-to-love lead after breaking twice in three games.
The five-time Grand Slam winner broke to love again in the second but failed to serve out the match at 5-4, with Vandeweghe breaking serves to set a tie-breaker, which she dominated to force a decider.
Sharapova eventually reclaimed initiative, breaking three more times in the final set and returning the Vandeweghe first serve with better confidence to seal victory.
“I was pretty dominant in the first set and beginning of the second but things slipped away after that and I had to regroup,” said Sharapova, who has only played in a women’s singles showdown match once since winning as a 17-year-old 11 years ago.
“My opponent was full of confidence so I knew it was going to be a tough match.
“You’re in a position to win it (in the second set) and sometimes it doesn’t quite go your way. You have to go back to what worked for you in the first set.”
Later on Tuesday, Williams came back from 1-set down to defeat Victoria Azarenka 3-6 6-2 6-3.
Azarenka subjected Williams to undue pressure early into the first set when she raced to a 4-1 lead and, despite the American managing to save two set points on her own serve, the 25-year-old Russian finished off the opening game on her third asking.
The opening four games of the second set turned a lengthy tussle between both contenders, with Azarenka managing to hold for 2-2 amid some impressive service return by the 33-year-old.
And when Serena saved her sixth break-point opportunity to move 4-2 clear and then battled from 15-40 to hold for a 5-2 lead with a superb backhand, the pressure obviously began to tell on Azarenka. Serena leveled 1-set all before closing out a routine third set to improve her Grand Slam winning streak to 26 games.
Sharapova, 28, who fell to Petra Kvitova in the 2011 final, has won just 2 of her 19 matches against the world No. 1.