Sharapova sets up Lisicki rematch in last 16 at Wimbledon

Story highlights

  • Top seed Maria Sharapova through to the last 16 after beating Su-Wei Hsieh on Friday
  • French Open champion will next play Germany's Sabine Lisicki in Wimbledon rematch
  • Russian could then face former world No. 1 Kim Clijsters in the quarterfinals next week
  • Clijsters, playing her final Wimbledon, must first get past Germany's Angelique Kerber

The wind blew hard at Wimbledon on Friday, but world No. 1 Maria Sharapova overcame the tricks of one of her former junior rivals to stay on course for a potential quarterfinal showdown with Kim Clijsters.

Sharapova is seeking to follow up her first French Open title by again winning the grass-court crown she so memorably lifted as a 17-year-old in 2004.

She reached the last 16 with a 6-1 6-4 victory over Taiwan's Su-Wei Hsieh to move a step closer to a meeting with former No. 1 Clijsters.

However, the Russian must first get through a rematch with German 15th seed Sabine Lesicki, who she beat in last year's semifinals before losing the title match against Petra Kvitova.

Clijsters, playing her last Wimbledon ahead of her second retirement at the end of this year, must beat another German, eighth seed Angelique Kerber, if she is to have any chance of reaching her first final in the London grand slam.

Sharapova struggled with her serve in the gusty conditions, delivering five double-faults as she needed to come back from 4-2 down in the second set.

"I faced her many times in the juniors and she used to be a nightmare for me because she used to slice and drop shot on clay," Sharapova said.

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"I was like, 'Where did she learn how to play tennis like that? Uses both hands, switches rackets.' We had real battles in the juniors.

"I hadn't played her since then, but I knew her game really well. I don't think she had time to do all of that today on grass. If I'm hitting a hard shot, I don't think she has time to create, which is something she really likes to do. That's her game, hitting a lot of drop shots and slices and getting people kind of crazy."

Sharapova has now won all seven third-round matches she has played at Wimbledon without dropping a set.

She has a 3-0 career advantage over Lisicki, who had lost five matches in a row before the start of this tournament after reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open and also last September's U.S. Open.

"Maria is a great competitor and fights for every point. She obviously has a lot of confidence, coming off the French Open now," said the 22-year-old, who beat American teenager Sloane Stephens 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 6-2.

"She hits it flat and hard and she's a champion, winning so many grand slams. It's nice to play her again -- I like challenges and I'm looking forward to the big match again."

Clijsters, twice a semifinalist at Wimbledon, moved into the fourth round when Russian opponent Vera Zvonareva had to retire due to breathing difficulties when trailing 6-3 4-3.

"I heard her cough a couple of times and it didn't sound good. It's unfortunate. I saw after long rallies it took her a little while to recover," the Belgian said of the 12th seed, who beat her in 2010 on the way to the final.

Kerber, who reached the last eight at Roland Garros and the semifinals at the 2011 U.S. Open, defeated American 28th seed Christina McHale 6-2 6-3 to achieve her best result on the hallowed grass turf.

Polish third seed Agnieszka Radwanska also reached the last 16 as she ended the hopes of 20-year-old British player Heather Watson, cruising to a 6-0 6-2 win.

Radwanska, a quarterfinalist in 2008 and 2009, will next face 20-year-old Italian qualifier Camila Giorgi -- making only her second grand slam appearance after a first-round loss last year.

Giorgi, ranked 145th, followed up her upset of 16th-seeded compatriot Flavia Pennetta in the opening round to oust Russian No. 20 Nadia Petrova 6-3 7-6 (8-6).

Chinese 30th seed Peng Shuai eliminated the conqueror of U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur, winning 6-1 6-2 against 21-year-old Dutch player Arantxa Rus to match last year's effort of reaching the fourth round.

Peng will next play Maria Kirilenko following the Russian 17th seed's 6-3 6-1 crushing of Romania's Sorana Cirstea -- who shocked French Open champion Li Na in the second round.

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