|Maria Sharapova of Russia serves to Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London June 25, 2011. (REUTERS/Toby Melville)
WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND - Two-time reigning champion Serena Williams cruised, while top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki resumed her quest for a first career Grand Slam crown with an easy third-round triumph and former Wimbledon champ Maria Sharapova also eased her way into the fourth round at the All England Club.
The seventh-seeded former No. 1 Williams blew past 26th-seeded Russian Maria Kirilenko 6-3, 6-2 on Court 1. Williams played her best match of the opening week, moving on in 1 hour, 39 minutes with the help of 10 aces and a whopping 32 winners. The powerful American held her formidable serve throughout on a sunny Day 6.
"The matches are getting better, my serve is getting better, so it's just getting the rhythm that I've been missing a little bit, and it's good," Williams said. "I just want to continue to serve better like I did today, and just hold on out there and just move, and just really more than anything enjoy myself and stay focused."
Williams owns 13 career Grand Slam titles, including four here at Wimbledon. She beat Russian Vera Zvonareva in last year's final to capture a second straight title at SW19. The American great is riding a 17-match winning streak at the world's most prestigious tennis event.
The 29-year-old Williams is trying to become the first woman to win three straight Wimbledon titles since Steffi Graf from 1991-93.
Up next for Williams, who's still on the mend from a series of much-publicized health issues, including blood clots in her lungs, will be former Wimbledon runner-up Marion Bartoli.
Meanwhile, it took Wozniacki a mere 66 minutes to dispose of 27th-seeded Aussie Jarmila Gajdosova with a 6-3, 6-2 decision on the famed Centre Court. Wozniacki, who leads the WTA with five titles so far this year, matched her best result at the All England Club by reaching the fourth round for a third straight year. Wimbledon is the only major the 20-year-old Dane has yet to make a quarterfinal appearance.
Up next for Wozniacki will be 24th-seeded Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova, who upended 16th-seeded German Julia Goerges 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.
A fifth-seeded Sharapova needed only 1 hour, 18 minutes to post a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic. The Russian star tallied 20 winners and broke her opponent's serve five times on Day 6.
Sharapova's play continues to improve following some shoulder problems over the last few years.
"I feel like it's getting better with every year (since the surgery)," Sharapova said. "I've gone with the flow of things. Even though in the beginning, when I came back, I thought you could just start from the beginning and feel like you could win everything."
The former world No. 1 and three-time major titlist Sharapova, the 2004 Wimbledon champ, will next face 20th-seeded Chinese Peng Shuai, who reached the fourth round by beating Hungarian Melinda Czink 6-2, 7-6 (7-5).
Austrian Tamira Paszek posted a big upset by taking out sixth-seeded Italian star Francesca Schiavone 3-6, 6-4, 11-9. Paszek needed 3 hours, 41 minutes to post the upset, including a marathon 2-hour, 4-minute final set.
Schiavone was this month's French Open runner-up to Li Na and captured last year's title at Roland Garros. Schiavone's best-ever Wimbledon showing was a quarterfinal one two years ago.
The 20-year-old Paszek will meet Russian Ksenia Pervak in her next outing.A ninth-seeded Bartoli snuck into the round of 16 with a 5-7, 6-4, 9-7 come- from-behind victory over 21st-seeded Italian Flavia Pennetta. The French Bartoli, fresh off her grass-court title in Eastbourne last week, lost to Venus Williams in the 2007 finale here.
Another upset came when Czech Petra Cetkovska doused 18th-seeded former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic 6-2, 7-6 (7-0).
Big-serving Sabine Lisicki, who titled on grass in Birmingham two weeks ago, continued her recent winning ways with a 6-4, 6-2 pasting of upstart Japanese Misaki Doi. The 21-year-old Lisicki stunned the French Open titlist and Aussie Open runner-up Li here on Thursday.
Lisicki will face Cetkovska in the fourth round on Monday.
All eight fourth-round women's matches will be staged on Monday, as Sunday marks the traditional off day at the All England Club. Some other fourth- rounders will pit fourth-seeded Belarusian Victoria Azarenka against Russian Nadia Petrova, eighth-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova versus 19th-seeded Belgian Yanina Wickmayer and a 23rd-seeded Venus against 32nd-seeded Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova. Kvitova and Pironkova were surprise semifinalists here a year ago. Pironkova stunned Venus in the quarterfinals last year.
The former No. 1 Venus is a seven-time major champion, including five Wimbledon titles in eight trips to the final at the All England Club.