In the second of the women’s US Open semi-finals, world number one Serena Williams will take on Ekaterina Makarova. Serena lost the first three games of her quarter-final match with Flavia Pennetta, but won 12 of the next 14 games to book her place in the semi-finals of the 2014 US Open. Serena hasn’t fallen before the semi-finals at this tournament since 2007 and is into her first Grand Slam semi-final of the year. Serena hasn’t dropped more than three games in any of the ten sets she has played; however she has only played one player from the top 40, who was Pennetta.
Makarova has taken out Eugenie Bouchard and Victoria Azarenka back-to-back and in straight sets. After four failed attempts at the quarter-finals stage of a Grand Slam, Makarova finally broke through into the last four with a superb display to defeat Azarenka, 6-4 6-2. Makarova came from a break down in the first set and didn’t buckle in the second set when Azarenka saved multiple break points. It was a brilliant display from the underrated Makarova. It’s only when you look at Makarova’s entire results this year that you realise how incredibly solid she has been. Her worst loss of the year in terms of rankings was to the world number 26 Svetlana Kuznetsova in the semi-finals of DC. The last time Makarova lost to a player outside of the top 50 was Marina Erakovic at Birmingham last year!
Serena leads the H2H 3-1 over Makarova; the one notable result was Makarova’s victory at the 2012 Australian Open in straight sets, 6-2 6-3. Since that match, Serena has won their last two encounters in straight sets; both featured a tight first set and bagel second set. In their last match in Dubai earlier this year, Makarova had set points in the first set before falling, 7-6(8) 6-0. I’ve supported Makarova through much of this tournament. I correctly had her to the quarter-finals in my original preview and tipped her to beat Azarenka in the semi-finals. I could see Makarova making it competitive and perhaps getting a set. Serena has shown some vulnerability during this summer hard court season. However, | think Serena will have too much power and experience at this stage of a Grand Slam for Makarova.
Prediction: S.Willliams d. Makarova in 2 tight sets
You can read my preview of the first women’s semi-final between Caroline Wozniacki and Peng Shuai HERE