|Date & Time||Wednesday September 3, 2014, 9:00 AM (EDT)|
ESPN, CBS, Tennis
Ekaterina Makarova and Victoria Azarenka will meet in the 2014 US Open quarterfinals.
Ekaterina Makarova has defeated the odds once again by reaching the quarterfinals, and she’s done so without playing a single match that’s gone the distance. The most games Makarova has played in a set was 23, and that was her recent upset against Eugenie Bouchard in the fourth round. In the victory, Makarova had four aces, won 67 percent of her net points and hit 25 solid winners. Ekaterina Makarova, who has had a lot more success as a doubles player in her career, has now won 10 of her last 13 singles matches and has quietly been turning some heads in the process. Makarova doesn’t have an overpowering game but she makes little mistakes and finds ways to win. This is Makarova’s fifth quarterfinals appearance in a major, and she’s never made it any further.
Not much of a surprise Victoria Azarenka is where she is, but she hasn’t exactly made it easy. Azarenka nearly lost a three set match in the fourth round against Aleksandra Krunic, a match that lasted 30 games. In the victory, Azarenka won just 59 percent of her first serve points, 42 of her net points and had an incredible 40 unforced errors. While it may seem like the sky is completely falling on Victoria Azarenka, she continues to dig deep when it matters and simply will herself to victory. Azarenka has now won six of her last seven matches since the early loss in Stanford, and she’s slowly returning to the player she was before her injury. Victoria Azarenka hasn’t been eliminated in the quarterfinals of a major since this year’s Australian Open.
These two have played each other five times, and Victoria Azarenka leads the series, 3-2. Ekaterina Makarova won their most recent match in the 2013 Madrid Masters, a match that went the distance. Other than that, the matches were in 2011 or later, and Azarenka has won their previous two matches on hard court in straight sets.
While Azarenka is playing shaky tennis and could fold at any moment, it’s tough to pick against her when matched up against a lesser opponent. Azarenka keeps finding ways to win even when she shouldn’t and it seems like a match against Serena is inevitable.