Defending champion Novak Djokovic and fourth seed Maria Sharapova advanced comfortably to the round of 16 with wins in their respective third-round singles matches at Wimbledon on Friday, while French Open finalist Lucie Safarova, Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic and Coco Vandeweghe of the United States also cemented their places in the fourth round.
Sharapova saw off a late comeback to win 6-4, 6-3 over Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu. The 2004 champion won the key points in the first set and saw off some last-ditch resistance in the second to book her place in last 16.
The Russian former world number one will face either Germany's 14th seed Andrea Petkovic or unseeded Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan for a spot in the quarter-finals.
"What everyone at this stage of the tournament expects is to go further and expect more, better things from yourself. As the matches get tougher, you have to raise your level," said five-time Grand Slam winner Sharapova. "That's why there's only one champion, that's why it makes it so special: it's the one that really raises their game.
"You have to have the belief and I absolutely do. You don't work all those hours to go on court and not believe in yourself.
"I want to be the winner and I do my best to do that."
Since 2006, Sharapova, 28, has only made it past the fourth round once, when she made the 2011 final, losing to Petra Kvitova.
Facing 24-year-old 29th seed Begu on the 11,000-seater Court One, Sharapova chose to serve but was immediately broken before breaking straight back. Begu then matched Sharapova but the Siberian won the crucial points at the end of the set.
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. Begu stopped the rot, breaking Sharapova when facing the exit at 5-1 down and prolonging the contest.
Sharapova even switched to play a left-handed forehand when stretching for a double-handed backhand that was beyond her.
"At 4-4 I played a really good game to go up 5-4. It was nice to have that tough game -- but break her," Sharapova said.
"Having the first set gives you a little bit of confidence. I felt good in the second and obviously she's not going to go away at the end and she played extremely well, so I was quite happy that I was able to finish off on good form."
Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after winning his third-round men's singles match of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships against Bernard Tomic of Australia at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, on July 3, 2015. (Reuters Photo)
Djokovic breezes past Tomic
Djokovic hasn't faced much of a test so far in the defense of his Wimbledon title. He's played three matches, won all in straight sets, and never dropped more than four games in any set.
The top-ranked Djokovic disposed of Bernard Tomic 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 Friday on Centre Court to sail into the fourth round and bolster his bid for a third Wimbledon title and ninth Grand Slam championship.
"I was hoping that I can play better and better as the tournament progresses and that's exactly what is happening right now," said Djokovic, who extended his career record against Tomic to 4-0. "I think as I'm moving on through the tournament I feel more confident on the court."
Djokovic needed only 1 hour, 32 minutes to put away Tomic, serving 15 aces, breaking four times, never losing serve and making only 12 unforced errors.
"I am pleased with the way I'm playing, definitely," he said. "It's very close to where I want to be. Hopefully in the second week I can play even better."
He'll next face big-serving Kevin Anderson, the 14th-seeded South African, who beat Leonardo Mayer of Argentina 6-4, 7-6 (6), 6-3.
US player Coco Vandeweghe celebrates beating Australia's Samantha Stosur in their women's singles third-round match of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, on July 3, 2015. (AFP Photo)
Vandeweghe routs Stosur
47th-ranked Vandeweghe, the niece of former NBA player and executive Kiki, beat 2011 US Open champion Sam Stosur, who was seeded 22nd at Wimbledon, 6-2, 6-0 to enter the second week at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time.
The match took only an hour.
Stosur began the match with a break of serve and serving at 2-0, had game points for 3-0. A few errors from her turned the match around and Stosur didn't win another game, losing 12 straight games in a virtual double bagel to end up with the disappointing loss, which she termed "bad tennis".
Stosur, who also lost to Vandeweghe at the Australian Open in January, has never had much success at the All England Club, never making it to the fourth round. This was only the third time in 13 appearances she even got as far as the third round.
Belinda Bencic of Switzerland celebrates winning a point against Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the United States, during their women's singles third-round match of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, on July 3, 2015. (AP Photo)
Bencic puts away Mattek-Sands
Belinda Bencic of Switzerland ended Bethanie Mattek-Sands' run at Wimbledon, knocking out the 158th-ranked American in straight sets in the third round.
Bencic won 7-5, 7-5 in a match that saw 10 breaks of serve and lasted 1 hour, 49 minutes on Court 18.
Mattek-Sands had to go through qualifying just to make the main draw and was the lowest-ranked woman left in the tournament. She was one of six American women to reach the third round, the highest total since 2005
French Open runner-up Lucie Safarova downed Sloane Stephens 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.
(With inputs from AFP and AP)