Wimbledon, July 9: Serena Williams defeated Evgeniya Rodina in emphatic fashion to surge into the quarter-finals of Wimbledon.
The women's singles draw has seen a plethora of surprise results, with none of the top 10 seeds reaching the quarter-finals, a turn of events that has seen 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams become the favourite to win the Venus Rosewater Dish for an eighth time.
And she ensured there would not be another shock in Monday's contest on Centre Court, her seemingly unstoppable march to the final continuing with a 6-2, 6-2 triumph.
"I knew that we were both moms. I’m not sure how often that has happened, if ever. You can be a mom. You can still play tennis. You can be great. You can be in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon"— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 9, 2018
The pursuit of greatness still burns bright for @serenawilliams #Wimbledon pic.twitter.com/pXCCi78mvs
Kiki Bertens dumped out the last of the top 10 seeds in the women's draw with a straight-sets defeat of Karolina Pliskova to reach her first Wimbledon quarter-final.
The vast majority of the leading contenders failed to make it into the second week at the All England Club and seventh seed Pliskova could not take advantage of a golden opportunity, bowing out with a 6-3, 7-6 (7-1) on 'Manic Monday'.
Serena's opponent Rodina had knocked out Madison Keys in the third round to progress to this stage, but Williams needed just 62 minutes to end her unlikely run and will next face Camila Giorgi as she looks to win her first slam since returning to the WTA Tour following the birth of her first child.
Rodina was very much in uncharted territory, having never previously gone beyond the second round of a slam, and it did not take long for Williams to impose her will as she raced into a 3-0 lead.
Her progress in the first set remained largely serene, though she was forced to save a break point in a gritty hold to make it 4-1 after a deep Rodina return put the Russian on the brink of getting things back on serve.
A comfortable set was wrapped up in fitting fashion as a double fault from Rodina handed Williams a break to love.
The writing was on the wall when Rodina fired a forehand long to give Williams a break for a 2-0 lead and, though she produced a stunning cross-court forehand en route to breaking Williams and gaining a glimmer of hope, that hope was brutally extinguished as the American immediately broke back to love.
That effectively marked the end of Rodina's resistance and she could not withstand the pressure from Williams as she attempted to serve to stay in the match, the favourite edging ever closer to tying Margaret Court's grand slam record.
Bertens, the 20th seed from the Netherlands was aggressive throughout, hitting 35 winners and breaking four times to book a last-eight encounter with Julia Goerges or Donna Vekic.
Pliskova was unable to match the intensity shown by the 2016 French Open semi-finalist, the Czech's serve not firing on all cylinders as her best run at the grass-court Grand Slam came to a halt.
Bertens secured an early break when a tentative Pliskova overcooked a forehand after scooping a backhand long, but a double fault pegged Bertens back at 3-3.
The world number 20 was much more nimble than her opponent and broke straight back to lead 4-3, then sealed the set with a break to love when Pliskova netted a forehand under pressure.
There was no let-up from Bertens, who fizzed another winner past a stranded Pliskova to lead 2-0 in the second, but the 2016 US Open runner-up was back on serve at 4-3 courtesy of an excellent return.
Pliskova winced as she struggled with what appeared to be a thigh problem and Bertens dominated a tie-break to march into the last eight, unleashing ferocious forehand winners before finishing it off with an overhead volley that clipped the line.
STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN Bertens bt Pliskova 6-3, 7-6 (7-1)
WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS Bertens - 35/22 Pliskova - 23/21
ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS Bertens - 7/5 Pliskova - 2/3
BREAK POINTS WON Bertens - 4/6 Pliskova - 2/10
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE Bertens - 57 Pliskova - 61
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE Bertens - 79/42 Pliskova - 65/33
TOTAL POINTS Bertens - 88 Pliskova - 73