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It's a high five for ice cool Maria.

Byline: Ted Tracey

MARIA SHARAPOVA is through to the quarterfinals for the first time in five years - and seven years after she was crowned champion.

Sharapova had started slowly in the scorching heat against China's Peng Shuai.

But as on-court temperatures soared to 34C the Russian won seven straight games to take command and beat the 20th seed 6-4 6-2. During the change-overs Sharapova covered her legs with ice wrapped in towels.

Realistic And the big-hitting tournament favourite admitted after a first week of showers and cooler temperatures, the heat made it seem "like playing a completely different tournament".

Sharapova - who had 27 winners and 10 unforced errors - said: "You see everyone putting sun screen on and I had the ice bag out.

"I'm used to it. I grew up in Florida and still live there and train there. I'm used to the humidity, so that really helped me.

"Last year I lost in the fourth round to Serena (Williams) and this year I find myself in the quarter-finals.

"I'm giving myself an opportunity to go on even further so I'm quite happy about that.

"I have to be a little realistic about the fact that I haven't gotten past the fourth round in a few years. This is a step forward."

Sharapova today faces Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova, marking the fact this is the first time since 1913 that all eight women's quarterfinalists are from Europe. On top of that, they all come from different countries.

The first woman to move into the quarters was Victoria Azarenka, the fourth seed from Belarus who defeated Nadia Petrova 6-2 6-2. German wild-card Sabine Lisicki downed Petra Cetkovska 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 to make the last eight for the second time.

Czech Petra Kvitova, who was a semi-finalist last year, wrapped up a 6-0 6-2 victory over Yanina Wickmayer in just 45 minutes.

And Tamira Paszek, an 80th-ranked Austrian, beat another 20-year-old player Ksenia Pervak of Russia 6-2 2-6 6-3 to secure her first Grand Slam quarterfinal berth.

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SHARP ATTACK: Sharapova powers into the last eight
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 28, 2011
Words:344
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