Maria Sharapova is thrilled to be stepping into the last four at Wimbledon once more after laying a knockout blow on the gutsy Coco Vandeweghe with a 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 6-2 victory.
The former champion was pushed hard by the unseeded 23-year-old American who levelled the quarter-final in a second-set tie-break with a delicious winning backhand two hours after play started.
It was the first set Sharapova has dropped at Wimbledon this year, but when they returned from a rest for the final act, the Russian signalled her intent by tearing through her opening service game.
The No 4 seed hit a delicious lob on her way to breaking Vandeweghe to cruise into a 2-0 lead before consecutive breaks made the score 4-2.
Sharapova broke again to win the set and Vandeweghe could only look on as her return clipped the net and bounced out to signal the end of her first Grand Slam quarter-final.
Sharapova said: “I’ve played five matches already, I’ve faced different challenges, matches, opponents, circumstances. The first four I played quite well and got the job done in two sets.
“Today serving for the second set, it could have made it easier for myself. The match went into the third and I still got the job done.
“I have to be pleased with that, that I’m in the position of being in a semi-final again after these many years.”
Sharapova returns to the semi-finals for the first time since 2011, but will want to eliminate the double faults from her serve, with 10 surfacing in this match, as she hits the business end of the tournament.
It’s the fifth time she has made it to the semi-finals at the All England Club, but she has not won the title since beating Lindsay Davenport as a 17-year-old in 2004.
She said: “I haven’t seen the name on the trophy in a while ’cause I haven’t held the trophy in many years.
“I know it’s there, but I would love to check it out again to make sure it’s still there.
“Obviously being a small part of its history is an incredible feeling. I’ll be able to tell my future children that mommy won Wimbledon. I have proof. It’s on the trophy.”