Wimbledon top seeds Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova brought a little sanity back to the All England Club yesterday when they reached the last 16.
Defending champion Djokovic avoided another Czech Republic Centre Court ambush with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 win over veteran Radek Stepanek.
Djokovic, playing on the same court where Rafael Nadal had been stunned by World No 100 Czech Lukas Rosol on Thursday, overcame dropping his first set of the tournament to see off 33-year-old Stepanek. The Serb goes on to play compatriot Victor Troicki, who put out Argentine 15th seed Juan Monaco 7-5, 7-5, 6-3, for a place in the quarter-finals.
The Serb insisted Nadal’s fate, which was also played out under the Centre Court roof, had not entered his thoughts.
“I was focussed on my own game. I knew Radek is a tricky opponent and very experienced,” he said. “He’s one of the few players who comes to the net after every first serve. He has the variety of game to hurt anyone.”
Sharapova cruised to a 6-1, 6-4 third round victory over Taiwain’s Hsieh Su-Wei as the World No 1 set up a Wimbledon rematch with Sabine Lisicki. Sharapova breezed past World No 63 Hsieh despite some serious issues with her serve in the windy conditions on Court One.