Kerber, who has never gotten past the semifinals in a Grand Slam, faced five-time Grand-Slam champion Sharapova in a fourth-round match on Court One at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships. Sharapova, ranked five in the world, was favored to beat the seventh-ranked German, but Kerber pulled off the upset.
“It was so tough a match; we were playing on a really high level. Every single set was so close I am just happy that I won the match against Maria she’s a great player, she plays so well on grass. I am so happy to be in the Quarters now.”
After reaching the Semis at Wimbledon four years ago, Kerber hadn’t advanced past the fourth round at a Grand Slam, but this didn’t enter her thoughts as Sharapova defended six match points in the final set, Kerber told ESPN.
“When I had three match points in a row and then it was Deuce, I tried to focus on myself, believe in my game, just try to hit the ball and be aggressive and it worked, so I won this very close battle against Maria.”
Kerber won the first set in a tiebreaker and was level at three in the second set when Sharapova turned on the power, winning the set 6–4.
The 26-year-old German has had a history of wilting under pressure, but today she stayed strong, matching the fiercely competitive Sharapova game for game. Instead it was Sharapova who made more mistakes, giving up a 5–2 lead in the final set.
The 27-year-old Russian fought back with her powerful serve, closing the gap to 4–5, but still Kerber stayed tough. Kerbere played amazing defense; Sharapova was more powerful but Kerber was impenetrable; she covered the court so well Sharapova had to paint the lines to win a point, and the margin of error was too small.
The final game offered as much drama as many matches. Sharapova fought off six match points, attacking all-out on every shot, but her accuracy was insufficient.
At deuce after six match points Kerber drove Sharapova to the corner with a hard drive; Sharapova had to hit an easy pop=-up to save the shot. Kerber had a great opportunity, but drove the ball right back at Sharapova, who managed a better lob, Kerber again aimed a slam right at the Russian, who blasted it right into the net, bringing up the seventh match point.
Kerber maintained her defense, and eventually Sharapova hit long, giving Kerber the win.
Kerber will face 20-year-old Canadian Eugenie Bouchard in the Quarterfinals on Thursday. Bouchard, ranked 13th, has been having her career-best year, reaching the Semifinals of the French and Australian Opens. Minutes after beating Sharapova, Kerber was already mentally preparing for that match
“It will be a tough match,”Kerber admitted. “I lost against her in Paris so I will try focus on myself as I did today, play aggressive, play my game, and enjoy the match and enjoy every single moment here.”