Serena Williams raced into her 13th Wimbledon quarter-final as the seven-time champion thrashed Russian qualifier Evgeniya Rodina 6-2, 6-2 in just 62 minutes on Monday.
Williams, who won the Wimbledon title on her last two visits in 2015 and 2016, is now on an 18-match winning streak at the All England Club.
Having missed Wimbledon last year while she prepared to have her first child in September, Serena is in pole position to win her first Grand Slam crown since becoming a mother.
The 36-year-old faces Italian world number 52 Camila Giorgi on Tuesday for a place in the semi-finals, as the women’s quarter-final lineup was set on a day also called “Manic Monday”.
Asked if it was a flawless display, Serena admitted she is never satisfied.
“I’m a perfectionist. I always find something wrong,” she said.
“It was an interesting match. She was hitting the ball well. That’s why she got this far.
“It was a good win but it was tougher than the scoreline to be honest.”
The 90th Wimbledon win of her career – the most among active female players – means Serena, currently 181st in the WTA rankings, will return to the top 100 next week.
Williams had made a tentative return to action following complications during daughter Olympia’s birth, struggling in her few appearances before pulling out midway through the recent French Open with a pectoral injury.
But her blistering form and a series of shock results have paved the way for another Williams coronation at Wimbledon. Garbine Muguruza, Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova, Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki and Sloane Stephens have all been eliminated already.
It is the first time in Wimbledon history not one of the top 10 women’s seeds have reached the quarter-finals.
Serena, seeded 25th, was facing a fellow mother in Rodina, the world number 120 who calls the American her “idol”.
And it was child’s play on Centre Court for Williams, who hit 30 winners and served 10 aces.
Kiki Bertens knocked out the last top 10 seed in the women’s singles at Wimbledon as the Dutch world number 20 stunned Karolina Pliskova with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/1) victory.
Bertens followed her shock third round success against five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams by claiming the scalp of Czech seventh seed Pliskova.
The exit of former world number one Pliskova came after the women’s draw was blown wide open by surprise defeats earlier in the tournament for Maria Sharapova, Petra Kvitova, Caroline Wozniacki, Simona Halep and Sloane Stephens.
Germany’s Angelique Kerber, seeded 11th, is the top ranked player remaining.
The former Wimbledon finalist stepped up her bid to return to the title match with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) win against Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic in the fourth round. Kerber was beaten by Serena Williams in the 2016 final at the All England Club.
The 30-year-old German is seeded 11th and, after a week of shock defeat for her title rivals, that makes Kerber the highest ranked woman left in the draw.
Kerber, who won the Australian and US Open titles in 2016, is into her fourth Wimbledon quarter-final.
She faces Russian 14th seed Daria Kasatkina or Belgian world number 47 Alison Van Uytvanck on Tuesday.
Bertens, a French Open semi-finalist in 2016, is into the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the first time.
The 26-year-old faces German 13th seed Julia Goerges or Croatian world number 55 Donna Vekic on Tuesday.
Bertens, who was contemplating retirement last year after losing her enthusiasm for the sport, is the first Dutch woman to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals since Michaella Krajicek in 2007.
Former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko swept into her second Wimbledon quarter-final with a 7-6 (7/4), 6-0 win against Belarusian world number 50 Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
Latvian 12th seed Ostapenko came from 2-5 down in the first set to finish off Sasnovich, who had stunned two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the first round. The 21-year-old also made the last eight at Wimbledon in 2017, just weeks after winning her maiden Grand Slam title in Paris.
Meanwhile, Dominika Cibulkova shrugged off a furious line call controversy to power into the Wimbledon quarter-finals with a 6-4, 6-1 rout of Taiwanese giant-killer Hsieh Su-Wei on Monday.
Cibulkova was furious when Hsieh successfully persuaded the umpire to replay a point that was initially called in the Slovakian’s favour and would have given her three set points in the opening set.
But the 29-year-old challenged her anger to crush Hsieh – who had shocked world number one Simona Halep in the previous round.
Cibulkova is ranked 33rd in the world and controversially missed out on being seeded at Wimbledon when tournament officially moved up seven-time champion Serena Williams into the seedings despite the American being ranked outside the top 150 following her maternity leave.
Although Cibulkova complained about the decision, the former Australian Open finalist has refocused well enough to make her third Wimbledon quarter-final.
She faces Ostapenko for a place in the semi-finals.
Italy’s Camila Giorgi advanced to her first Grand Slam quarter-final with a 6-3, 6-4 win against Russian world number 35 Ekaterina Makarova .
Giorgi was making only her third appearance in the last 16 at a major, but there was no big game nerves as the world number 52 cruised to the most significant victory of her career.
The 26-year-old had failed to get past the third round of a major since the 2013 US Open.
But she was in complete control against Makarova, who had defeated reigning Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki in the second round.
Julia Goerges is through to the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time after the German 13th seed beat Croatia’s Donna Vekic 6-3, 6-2 on Monday.
Goerges was competing in her first Wimbledon last 16 tie after five successive opening round defeats at the All England Club.
The 29-year-old rose to the occasion, sweeping aside world number 55 Donna Vekic, who defeated US Open champion Sloane Stephens in the first round and was also chasing a maiden Grand Slam quarter-final berth.
Goerges takes on Dutch 20th seed Kiki Bertens for a place in the semi-finals.
She will be making her Grand Slam last eight debut in her 42nd appearance at the majors.
Goerges had previously reached the fourth round of Grand Slams on five occasions without a victory.
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) bt Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE) 6-4, 6-1
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT x12) bt Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 7-6 (7/4), 6-0
Daria Kasatkina (RUS x14) bt Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) 6-7 (6/8), 6-3, 6-2
Angelique Kerber (GER x11) bt Belinda Bencic (SUI) 6-3, 7-6 (7/5)
Kiki Bertens (NED x20) bt Karolína Pliskova (CZE x7) 6-3, 7-6 (7/1)
Julia Goerges (GER x13) bt Donna Vekic (CRO) 6-3, 6-2
Serena Williams (USA x25) bt Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) 6-2, 6-2
Camila Giorgi (ITA) bt Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 6-3, 6-4
With inputs from AFP