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Since 2006, Sharapova, 28, has only made it past the fourth round once, when she made the 2011 final, losing to Petra Kvitova.
Maria Sharapova crushed Irina-Camelia Begu with a routine straight-sets victory to reach Wimbledon’s last 16 for the 10th time in 13 years.
The 28-year-old Russian, champion at the All England Club in 2004, overpowered her 29th-seeded opponent on a sun-drenched Court One to take her place in the last 16.
Belinda Bencic, 18, reached the fourth round for the first time as she beat American Bethanie Mattek-Sands 7-5 7-5.
Sharapova’s victory followed a sizeable upset when American Coco Vandeweghe defeated 22nd seed Sam Stosur 6-2 6-0, the Australian recording a costly 20 unforced errors and five double faults.
Czech sixth seed Lucie Safarova came from one set down to beat Serbia’s Aleksandra Krunic 3-6 6-3 6-1.
In the second set, Sharapova broke twice for a 4-0 lead, the second time helped by an improvised scooped lob when she miscalculated and over-ran beyond the path of the ball.
“If I don’t have that belief in me it would be pretty tough to go through the two weeks just going through the motions”. You don’t work all those hours to go on court and not believe in yourself.
“I cherish playing in front of all those people, I want to be the competitor and I want to be the victor”.
“You have to have the belief and I absolutely do”.