A number of mouthwatering third round match-ups were set at Wimbledon on Thursday. Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova also continued their collision course.
WTA Staff

LONDON, England - The favorites, including Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, held strong on the grass courts of the All-England Club on Thursday, as the second round kept playing out.

Serena Williams, the No.1 seed, was one of the first winners of the day, hitting 26 winners to just seven unforced errors en route to a 6-1, 6-1 victory against Chanelle Scheepers in 49 minutes.

Next up for Williams is No.25 seed Alizé Cornet, who had to grind hard to get past the hard-hitting Petra Cetkovska, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3. Cornet beat Williams in their last meeting in Dubai this year.

"She does everything well - that's why she was able to get a good win off of me," Williams said of Cornet. "And she never gives up - she's a really big fighter, and she gets a lot of balls back.

"But I'm ready. It's time for me to step up my game and do what I know I can do."

Maria Sharapova, seeded No.5, continued her smooth transition from clay court queen to grass court goddess with a 6-2, 6-1 victory against Swiss qualifier Timea Bacsinszky in exactly an hour.

Sharapova isn't worried at all about her quick matches thus far - for a very real reason, too.

"I had four three set matches in a row at Roland Garros," the former World No.1 commented.

"It was quite a long battle, so I'm going to take these as much as I can get them!"

Williams and Sharapova are two wins away from an absolutely mouthwatering quarterfinal clash.

Elsewhere, some mouthwatering third round match-ups were set up, most notably No.11 seed Ana Ivanovic against No.19 seed Sabine Lisicki, after Ivanovic cruised past former Wimbledon semifinalist Zheng Jie, 6-4, 6-0, and Lisicki beat Karolina Pliskova, 6-3, 7-5, in a battle of the big servers.

Ivanovic beat Lisicki in the pair's only previous meeting, in Stuttgart this year. But obviously the German is much more dangerous on these courts - she's been to the quarterfinals or better in all of her last four appearances here, of course reaching her first Grand Slam final here a year ago.

Another tantalizing third round match-up that came to fruition was No.13 seed Eugenie Bouchard against No.20 seed Andrea Petkovic, after Bouchard beat Spanish wildcard Sílvia Soler-Espinosa, 7-5, 6-1, and Petkovic got past Irina-Camelia Begu, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1. Petkovic is 3-0 lifetime against Bouchard.

WTA Rising Stars Madison Keys, Alison Riske and Zarina Diyas were also among the winners, with Keys battling past No.31 seed Klara Koukalova, 7-5, 6-7(3), 6-2, and Diyas pulling off an even bigger upset, toughing out a 7-6(12), 5-7, 6-2 grinder against the No.15 seed, Carla Suárez Navarro.

Rounding out the day's winners were No.9 seed Angelique Kerber, No.24 seed Kirsten Flipkens, Yaroslava Shvedova and - a big feel good story - Vera Zvonareva, who beat Donna Vekic, 6-4, 6-4.

Zvonareva, a two-time Grand Slam finalist and former World No.2, has been trying to rebuild her career this year after missing a year and a half of action due to illness and a shoulder injury. This is the first time she's won back-to-back matches in her comeback - could this be the start of something big?