Sharapova confidence growing in Madrid
22:44 AEST Thu May 9 2013

World No.2 Maria Sharapova kept her impressive form at the Madrid Open going as she overcame Sabine Lisicki 6-2 7-5 to book her place in the quarter-finals.

The Russian is yet to drop a set in the Spanish capital this week and took control early on, breaking the Lisicki serve four times to prevail in a disjointed opening set.

The serve was more dominant in the second set with both players exchanging just the one break early on before Sharapova secured a crucial second break at 5-5, before serving out to take her place in the last eight.

Top-seeded Serena Williams also reached the quarter-finals on Thursday, needing a little more than an hour to see off Maria Kirilenko 6-3 6-1.

Reigning French Open champion Sharapova believes her game on the clay is rounding into shape nicely as she prepares to begin the defence of her title later this month.

"I think when you win a grand slam on a surface, it would be pretty mean of me to say that I'm not comfortable on the surface," she told a press conference on Thursday.

"It took me many years to get to the level of where I am today. It certainly didn't happen overnight.

"I worked extremely hard on getting stronger and recovering better, moving better on the court, giving myself a better position on the court, especially after being on the defensive and trying to play aggressively as I always do on quicker surfaces.

"Winning the French Open was an incredible memory and one that I'll have for the rest of my life.

"Sometimes when you feel like you have everything or you won everything, it can be pretty easy to just say, why do I need it again? But I find a lot motivation in going back and trying to defend my title.

"Over the years, it's brought me a lot of great memories and a lot of tough ones. I did win last year but years before I had tough losses there as well.

"So it brings back a lot memories, but certainly the best one and the sweetest was last year."

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