London: Four-time champion Serena Williams overcame windy conditions and a gritty 65th-ranked opponent on Monday to pull out another three-set victory and reach the quarter-finals of Wimbledon, where she will meet the defending champion Petra Kvitova who ousted Francesca Schiavone on Monday.
The sixth-seeded American won the last three games of the final set to beat Kazakhstani wildcard Yaroslava Shvedova 6-1, 2-6, 7-5, in cool and gusty conditions on Court 2.
Williams hopped in joy with both feet in the air after hitting a big forehand that forced an error by Shvedova on the first match point, ending a hard-hitting contest that lasted nearly two hours.
While Serena was battling Shvedova, Kvitova and former French Open champion Schiavone were slogging it out on Court No. 3, where Kvitova finally eked out a hard-fought 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 win.
In a match between two former Grand Slam tournament winners, both players struggled in the wind on Court 3. Kvitova wasted 10 break points in the first set. She finally broke back for 2-2 in the second when Schiavone double-faulted. The fourth-seeded Czech, however, took charge by jumping to a 5-0 lead in the third set and served out the match at love.
Schiavone, the 2010 French Open winner, won the first set despite hitting just two winners and making 16 unforced errors. Kvitova then won the second despite having four winners and 14 unforced errors.
"I didn't want to lose today and I thought, 'Just stay relaxed'," Williams said. "I knew the whole match I could play better."
It was the second straight tough three-set victory for Williams, who won 9-7 in the third to beat Zheng Jie in the previous round.
"I feel fine," she said. "I'm not tired. I'm not anything. I feel good. I feel like, bottom line, I can play so much better than what I have been playing ... You know me. I'm never satisfied."
The match ended in a slight drizzle, with play suspended on some of the other courts. Shvedova removed her glasses in the final two games to keep the lenses from getting wet.
"I think we both wanted to keep playing because it was so deep into the match," Williams said. "I didn't want to stop."
The first player to reach the quarters was 37th-ranked Austrian Tamira Paszek, who beat Italy's Roberta Vinci 6-2, 6-2 to reach the last-eight for the second year in a row.