Ekaterina Makarova and Serena Williams will meet Friday in the 2014 US Open semifinal.
Ekaterina Makarova has bullied her way to her first major semifinal appearance of her career, having yet to drop a set. Makarova’s most recent win was her most impressive, as she upset Victoria Azarenka in just 18 quick games. In the victory, Makarova won 81 percent of her first serve points, 67 percent of her net points and averaged a first serve speed of 99 mph. Ekaterina Makarova is playing some of her best tennis of the season and it’s clear her success in the doubles at the US Open has helped her improve certain areas of her game in the singles. Makarova is playing with supreme confidence and has hit at least 20 winners in each of her last four matches. A win here would be a career defining moment for the 26-year-old.
Serena Williams also has yet to lose a set in this tournament and has played no more than 18 games in all of her matches. Serena started off slow in her most recent match against Flavia Pennetta, but she ended up cruising to victory and only lost five games total. In the win, Serena had seven aces, won 75 percent of her first serve points and hit 31 winners. Serena also packed more of a punch in this match, averaging a first serve speed of 108 mph. As if that wasn’t enough, Serena Williams has had less than 20 unforced errors in four of her five matches so far. Serena is playing some of her more consistent tennis all year, winning 10 straight singles matches, and she hasn’t lost a semifinals match of a major since the 2009 US Open.
These two have played each other four times in the past and Serena Williams leads the series, 3-1. Their most recent meeting was in Dubai of this year and Serena won the match in straight sets. Ekaterina Makarova’s only victory over Serena came in the 2008 Australian Open. Every meeting between these two has been decided in straight sets and they’ve all been played on hard court.
You have to respect Makarova’s game and her recent success in majors. However, Serena Williams is a whole different type of player and will be Makarova’s toughest challenge yet.
I just can’t pick against her in this spot.