Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Makarova destroys Halep and serves notice

Ekaterina Makarova slipped into the top ten rankings recently without too much fanfare but her feats are beginning to become too significant and consistent to continue to be given anything less than headline coverage.

Aided by the upset exit of Ivanovic in the first round Makarova still needed to beat her opponents and the way she dismantled all four including Julia Goerges in the fourth round gave her every confidence entering the quarter final against all conquering Simona Halep whose performances deservedly gave her favouritism for today's match.

Halep was on song for the first point hitting a clean winner, but then she fell into a series of poor shots leading to a loss of service, compounded by a solid start by Makarova who was finding the middle of her racquet and moving Halep to places in the court which would disadvantage her the most.

2-0 to the Russian 10th seed and then at 30-15 Halep double faulted, thought that was a good trick so repeated it, then lost serve again with another unforced error.

This could not have been predicted, such a nervous ineffective opening to the biggest match of the year so far for the Romanian.  She gritted her teeth which didn't change the spin on the ball but must have scared Makarova because it was 15-40 on Ekaterina's next serve, thanks to the determined look and probably helped a little by winners off both wings from Halep.

After the game was back to deuce, Makarova deemed the effort all too hard and threw in two lousy forehands to give a break back to Simona who now trailed 1-3.

Serves were held, not always convincingly until it was Makarova at the line at 5-4 to attempt to lock the first set away.

A forehand winner gave Ekaterina two set points at 40-15 and she won the set with the second of those 6-4.

What we had from Makarova in set one was pre dinner drinks.  Set two was a six course feast.

As an appetiser, antipasto highlighted by Romanian double faults and unforced Halep errors.
Followed soon after by a delicious Russian soup prepared with three break points saved from the Makarova serve in the second game.

The dips in Simona's fortunes were delicious for Ekaterina with herbed bread just as the final unforced error signalled 3-0 to the Russian, and the grilling she had been receiving with tomatoes and bacon and forehand slices had been timed just right and at the right temperature for 4-0.

A compote of Halep backhand and forehand errors gave Makarova a break from the savoury dishes and a service break too for a 5-0 lead, and the forehand winners and forced errors served up with coffee and mints proved the perfect finish to a most enjoyable meal for Ekaterina who was into the semi finals of the 2015 Aus Open. 6-4 6-0.

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