Maria Sharapova has been accused of gamesmanship after moving into her first Wimbledon semi-final since 2011 – and not for her wince-inducing screams.
Sharapova’s customary grunts and wails grew louder every time she came under duress from America’s Coco Vandeweghe in yesterday’s three-set quarter-final.
The Russian 28-year-old prevailed 6-3 6-7 (3/7) 6-2, before coming under fire from her opponent for unsporting behaviour, Vandeweghe claiming Sharapova was moving around in her eye-line as she shaped to serve.
“She was moving around in the middle of my motion on my second serve,” said Vandeweghe. “That’s why I spoke to the umpire.
“I felt from her moving around in between my serving motion was not sportsmanlike in my opinion.
“I try to play as fair as I can.
“When I felt like it wasn’t being reciprocated, that’s when I spoke with the umpire for her to deal with it.”
Sharapova denied the accusation of moving on Vandeweghe’s serve, saying: “It is what it is, if she said it I can’t argue, that’s her words.”
Vandeweghe complained to chair umpire Eva Asderaki-Moore about Sharapova’s antics, but did not think any action was taken.
“She (the umpire) said she didn’t believe she was doing it during the motion: I strongly disagreed,” said Vandeweghe.
“Towards the later end of the second set, I said if she has a problem speaking to Maria, if she’s too scared to do it, I had no problem speaking to her.”
When asked if she thought the umpire was too scared to talk to Sharapova about the issue, Vandeweghe replied: “Well, I didn’t hear anything said.”
Serena Williams out-slugged Victoria Azarenka to set up a Wimbledon semi-final with Sharapova and keep her calendar grand slam bid firmly on track.
The reigning Australian and French Open champion is now the overwhelming favourite to complete the third leg of that calendar slam, with no other true big-hitters left in the Wimbledon draw.
Only former world No 1 Azarenka had the power to trouble Williams, and even she could not cope, the 20-time major champion triumphing 3-6 6-2 6-3.
On the other side of the draw, Spain’s first-time grand slam semi-finalist Garbine Muguruza will tackle former Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska, who overcame big-hitting American Madison Keys 7-6 (7/3) 3-6 6-3.
Muguruza beat Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky 7-5 6-3 to reach her first major semi-final.
It is also the first time a Spanish woman has made it through to the last four at Wimbledon since Arantxa Sanchez Vicario achieved the feat in 1997.