Serena Williams powered into her 12th Wimbledon quarterfinal as the defending champion celebrated American Independence Day with a 7-5, 6-0 victory over Russian 13th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova on Monday.
World No 1 Williams hit 43 winners and served 14 aces as she won the last nine games on Centre Court to remain on course for a record-equalling 22nd major title and a seventh Wimbledon crown.
The 34-year-old, an eight-time Wimbledon finalist, will play Russian 21st seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for a place in the semifinals.
Williams leads their career series 5-0.
Williams’s 301st Grand Slam match victory moved her within five of Open era record holder Martina Navratilova.
“She has played really well against me in the past and she beat me earlier this year so I know that I had to play really well to win this,” Williams said.
“It was really tricky out there because even though it wasn’t raining hard, it was dewy on the grass and you can fall really easy.”
Due to bad weather, Williams will have played three days in a row by the time she finishes Tuesday’s quarterfinal, but she is unconcerned about the demanding schedule.
“Usually in order to win a tournament, you have to play quarters, semis, final back to back. I thought, ‘Serena, you’ve done this many times’, so for me it’s an easy transition,” she said.
Beaten in the Australian and French Open finals this year, Serena’s attempt to equal Steffi Graf’s Open era record of 22 Grand Slam titles seems back on track on the lawns of the All England Club.
She made a powerful start, unloading four successive aces to take one game before breaking for a 3-1 lead.
Kuznetsova had beaten her close friend three times, including in Miami this year, and she hit straight back with a break of her own in the next game.
Matching Serena blow for blow, the Russian had a chance to serve for the set after breaking when the top seed was left flat on her backside.
But Williams quickly composed herself following that embarrassing stumble and broke back before a delay for the roof to be closed as light rain fell.
Once play resumed in indoor conditions suiting her muscular game, Serena made the most of her escape and broke to seal the first set.
Kuznetsova has a tattoo on her arm reading ‘pain doesn’t kill me, I kill pain’, but the Russian’s threshold for enduring Serena’s brand of torturous power was reaching breaking point.
A pair of breaks in the first four games of the second set shattered her morale as Williams cantered to the finish line.
VENUS BECOMES OLDEST WIMBLEDON WOMEN’S QUARTERFINALIST
Venus Williams became the oldest Wimbledon women’s quarterfinalist for 22 years as the five-time champion defeated Spanish 12th seed Carla Suarez Navarro 7-6 (7/3), 6-4.
Aged 36, Williams is the oldest to make the last eight since 37-year-old Martina Navratilova’s run to the final in 1994.
Williams will be making her 12th appearance in the last eight at Wimbledon, and her first since 2010, when she faces Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova for a place in the semifinals.
Venus, seeded eighth, was broken twice in the first three games of the first set, but recovered from 3-0 and 5-3 down to win it in a tie-break.
The American legend, who won the last of her seven Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon in 2008, needed just one break to win the second set.
Williams, an eight-time Wimbledon finalist, will be bidding for her first Grand Slam semifinal appearance since the 2010 US Open.
KERBER DOWNS POCKET ROCKET
Superior court craft proved decisive for Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber on Monday as she motored past Japanese pocket rocket Misaki Doi 6-3 6-1 in a full-blooded fourth-round match on Wimbledon’s Court Two.
German fourth seed Kerber, who reached the semifinals at the All England Club in 2012, risked being overpowered early in the first set as her 5-foot-3 (1.59 metre) opponent bludgeoned forehand winners to both sides of the court.
But Kerber, who shocked world No 1 Serena Williams to win her maiden grand slam title in Melbourne in January, gradually found her range on her groundstrokes while 49th-ranked Doi’s radar began to slip.
In a match full of mesmerising rallies, Kerber broke twice in the first set, winning it on her third set point, before cruising through the second as Doi’s challenge fizzled out.
PAVLYUCHENKOVA INTO FIRST WIMBLEDON QUARTERFINAL
Russian 21st seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova reached her first Wimbledon quarterfinal with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Coco Vandeweghe of the United States.
Pavlyuchenkova, who celebrated her 25th birthday on Sunday, last made the quarterfinals of a Slam in 2011 at Roland Garros and the US Open.
She goes on to face either defending champion Serena Williams or Svetlana Kuznetsova for a spot in the semifinals.
CIBULKOVA STUNS FORMER FINALIST RADWANSKA
Slovakian 19th seed Dominika Cibulkova sent world No 3 Agnieszka Radwanska crashing out of Wimbledon with a surprise 6-3, 5-7, 9-7 fourth round victory.
Cibulkova defeated Poland’s Radwanska en route to her first grass-court title at Eastbourne last month and emulated that result in a high-quality clash to secure her first Wimbledon quarterfinal berth since 2011.
The 27-year-old, who has never made the last four at the All England Club, will play Russian world number 50 Elena Vesnina or Russian world number 35 Ekaterina Makarova for a place in the semifinals.
Cibulkova cried tears of joy as she rolled on the court in celebration after the final point, but the triumph could come with a sting in the tail as she will have to postpone her wedding if she makes it to Saturday’s final.
The 2014 Australian Open runner-up is due to get married to fiance Miso Navara in Bratislava on the same day after planning the big day nine months ago.
Radwanska, beaten in the 2012 Wimbledon final, is still waiting for her first Grand Slam title after failing to make the quarterfinals at the All England Club for only the second time in the last five years.
SHVEDOVA INTO FIRST WIMBLEDON QUARTERFINAL
Yaroslava Shvedova, the world number 96 from Kazakhstan, reached her first Wimbledon quarterfinal with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Czech 28th seed Lucie Safarova.
Shvedova will face either Venus Williams, the five-time champion, or Carla Suarez Navarro on Tuesday for a place in the semifinals.
RUTHLESS HALEP HITS BACK TO BEAT HOBBLING KEYS
Romanian fifth seed Simona Halep recovered to beat an emotional and hobbling Madison Keys 6-7(5) 6-4 6-3 and reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the second time in her career.
The 24-year-old was heading out when she fell a break behind in the second set, having squandered four set points to surrender the opener, but she battled back and then took ruthless advantage as Keys appeared to suffer a leg injury.
She will play Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber in the last eight.
The first eight games were full of high-quality clean hitting, before a strange sequence of games saw both players go off the boil in equal measure.
Halep broke when she lunged to reach a poor Keys volley and scooped the ball inadvertently over the 21-year-old American’s head.
But she let her opponent off the hook, double-faulting on two of the four set points that came her way when she served at 5-4 in the opening set. Keys also saved one with a sizzling backhand return of serve.
Immediately Halep broke the powerful Keys serve to love, but once again faltered at 6-5 as the American flashed a forehand winner, one of 16 in the match, to take the opener into a tiebreak.
Ninth seed Keys, the youngest player to reach the fourth round this year, surged ahead in the breaker and claimed it 7-5 with another crunching forehand winner into an open court.
When Halep double-faulted and then sent a backhand long to drop serve at the start of the second set and Keys held with a huge ace to lead 2-0 the end looked nigh.
But Halep, whose semifinal appearance two years ago disguises an ordinary Wimbledon record, is made of sterner stuff and worked her way back, breaking back in the fourth game as the errors returned to the Keys game.
Keys netted a forehand to hand the second set to a resurgent Halep and the decider became an ordeal for the American as she looked in discomfort and close to tears with a leg injury.
Surprisingly Keys, playing some shots off one leg, did not call for the trainer and Halep calmly moved 5-3 ahead, sealing victory when Keys belted a forehand out.