Maria Sharapova came through a spirited test from Zarina Diyas to reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, eventually subduing the tenacious scrambler from Kazakhstan 6-4 6-4 after a brief scare in the second set.
The Russian, who had not been past the fourth round since 2011 at the tournament she won for the only time as a teenager 11 years ago, will now face American Coco Vandeweghe in the last-eight.
Her victory over Diyas was far from comprehensive, but further evidence nonetheless that things are looking good for the fourth seed as she maintained her unblemished record of not dropping a set up so far.
She found her range early under hazy skies on Court One, peppering the baseline with her usual array of missiles and breaking for a 3-1 lead with a rasping crosscourt winner.
Diyas, who surged 129 places up the rankings in 2014 to 34th, showed she was no soft touch by breaking back in the ninth game, having saved two set points, but Sharapova’s extra power told and she clinched the first set on her opponent’s serve.
There was a clear shift in momentum, however, at the start of the second as Sharapova’s concentration slipped and the Kazakh broke and held for a 3-1 lead.
Ultimately, however, Diyas lacked the weapons to maintain that advantage and the five-times grand slam champion broke back for 3-3 and then closed out the match on the Diyas serve when the Kazakh sent a backhand long.
Serena Williams stood three wins away from hoisting her fourth successive grand slam title by trumping elder sister Venus 6-4 6-3.
A contest featuring two women who between them have hoisted the Rosewater Dish 10 times should have been a blockbuster but turned out to be yet another awkward anti-climax – as has been the case in their previous 25 meetings.
Serena started off by thundering through the first eight points of the match, bagged the opening set by hurling down three aces, and completed her 15th win over Venus by breaking the 35-year-old to love.
The top-ranked American will meet either former world number one Victoria Azarenka of Belarus who beat rising Swiss talent Belinda Bencic 6-2, 6-3.
20-Garbine Muguruza Blanco (Spain) beat 5-Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) 6-4 6-4
23-Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) beat 30-Belinda Bencic (Switzerland) 6-2 6-3
15-Timea Bacsinszky (Switzerland) beat Monica Niculescu (Romania) 1-6 7-5 6-2
13-Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) beat 28-Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) 7-5 6-4
4-Maria Sharapova (Russia) beat Zarina Diyas (Kazakhstan) 6-4 6-4
1-Serena Williams (U.S.) beat 16-Venus Williams (U.S.) 6-4 6-3
CoCo Vandeweghe (U.S.) beat 6-Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic) 7-6(1) 7-6(4)
21-Madison Keys (U.S.) beat Olga Govortsova (Belarus) 3-6 6-4 6-1