WTA Apia International Sydney, Quarter-Final Preview: Belinda Bencic v Ekaterina Makarova

Belinda Bencic

NEW MATCH-UP ALERT… The Sydney quarter-finals include a first career meeting between Belinda Bencic and Ekaterina Makarova. Bencic had a solid win in the second round against the Sydney GOAT, Tsvetana Pironkova, 6-3 6-3. It was a far more straightforward match compared to her first round win over Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, 7-6(6) 1-6 6-4. In the first set of that match, Bencic had failed to convert on set points when serving for it at *5-4 and then faced one against her in the tiebreak; Lucic-Baroni gave it away with a tame double fault. Bencic eventually won the first set, but Lucic-Baroni came back to force a decider. The Croatian player recovered a 1-4 deficit in the third set as Bencic, seemingly troubled by a foot injury, lost her way. However, as Bencic has become rather talented at doing, she weathered the storm and her emotions to get the win.

Makarova progressed into the quarter-finals after Angelique Kerber withdraw from the tournament. I’m pleased that Angie pulled out because there didn’t seem to be much benefit from going deeper in the draw and potentially drawing on reserves that will be much needed in Melbourne. Makarova’s only completed match of the week so far was a straight sets win over Lucie Hradecka, 6-2 6-1. The Russian player seems to be back to full fitness after being forced out of action after the US Open last year with a persistent leg injury.

Head-to-head record: Bencic and Makarova have never played each other before on the WTA tour.

Interesting stat: Makarova’s opponents in 2016 have been dropping like flies. She was scheduled to play Maria Sharapova in her first round of Brisbane, but the Russian player pulled out, being replaced by Margarita Gasparyan. In Sydney, Makarova faced another lucky loser in the first round and then benefitted from a withdrawal in the second round!

Analysis: This should be a close match… Makarova will obviously be the fresher of the two having only played one match this week although Bencic was only on court for 81 minutes on Tuesday. Bencic wasn’t all that impressive against Lucic-Baroni but based on the scoreline of her match against Pironkova (the match wasn’t streamed), it would indicate an improvement from BB. I think she still needs time to find her form but already this start has been an improvement of 2015. Being the week before a Slam, any niggles will most likely not be risked. Bencic may have an issue with her foot but if she’s up for this one, i’d fancy her to progress to the semi-finals.

Photo in this post by Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

24 thoughts on “WTA Apia International Sydney, Quarter-Final Preview: Belinda Bencic v Ekaterina Makarova

    • On any given day I will go for Simona, since She still opted to play I assumed she was on some kind pain morphine or her injuries were subsiding. Garcia just needs to get her mental game worked on, a little patience and she could be up there with the others. Halep’s game, and more importantly her mental guile will always be a challenge for a seemingly impatient Garcia.

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      • I’d agree… Garcia has a long way to go but I thought there were some encouraging signs in that match, especially compared to some of the matches she played last year. I was concerned about Halep’s injury and while that was evident, she played a great third set.

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  1. Tough match to predict….more probability of a three setter.Belinda is not in her prime form of 2015 and can be a tough match for her.Lay the first set winner if the set goes tight.

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  2. Makarova is my pick here, if she is able to suss out Belinda in the first set, I think she has the experience to see this one through. Granted she is the fresher of the two in a sense, Belinda, likes such matchups as an opportunity to prove herself( as a new pro). This is what Makarova has to overcome, I think.

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  3. Im going Makarova in 3, but she could do it in 2. I feel like Bencic hasnt yet hit her stride and Makarova in Australia is quite something.

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  4. Pironkova should have won the match if she has a stronger mental strength. Bencic is a typical pusher with extra power. That’s why she lost to Samantha Crawford in Brisbane. Based on the previous matches, I think Makarova will beat Bencic.

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  5. Really pleased Bencic dug deep and got the win.

    And how about Kuznetsova being 5 1 and 2 set points down and winning in 76 60?! She looks like 2009 Sveta again. 🙂 shan’t get my hopes too high because beating Halep will be a tough ask for her, but she hasnt started a year this well in a long long time now.

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      • Just caught up with Makarova v Bencic. and I must say she is continuing to prove herself. Kudos! So far only a few of the top players have been able to brush her aside when she digs in, Victoria Azarenka being the most recent I can recall.

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      • It’s been a long time, but her form season ending 2015 was brilliant. It’s almost like she’s discovering her groove again. Will see how things go with Halep, hopefully neither makes it one of the long 3-setters no matter how fantastic and beguiling the tennis is. Australian Open is right around the corner. They both need to be there fighting fit.

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    • Bencic retires against Monica Puig sitting sickness. Said she was throwing up all morning. Not surprised, because it seems she likes to prove herself against top ranked opponents and she did dig in to overcome Makarova but it takes a toll. Hopefully being still young, she will develop a better strategy to consistently move through the tour. Best Wishes for Melbourne.

      Svetlana wins against Halep. It gets interesting.

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  6. It was very interesting match between Belinda Bencic and Ekaterina Makarova and it was glad to know that Belinda Bencic win easily in second round. Thanks for such an nice match analysis.

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      • It really was inspired tennis! Ive always maintained that Kuznetsova had the game to be one of the games true Greats, and boy did she show that here. Id LOVE to see her win another Slam.

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  7. As a long time fan of Sveta,I am soo happy she won Sydney,Sveta to me has really worked hard in the off season,she looks in great shape physically.Some of the great angles she produced in the final was like Sveta in her prime,she has always been one of the best athletes on the womens tour.She was just a joy to watch.
    I hope she continues with this great form going into the AO.

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