Azarenka denied final chance of redemption by Makarova

Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova reached the first grand slam singles semi-final of her career with victory over two-time US Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka.

Ekaterina Makarova, of Russia, returns a shot against Victoria Azarenka.
Ekaterina Makarova, of Russia, returns a shot against Victoria Azarenka.

Makarova, who is also through to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles with Elena Vesnina, was the more consistent player throughout and won 6-4 6-2 to finally emerge triumphant in her fifth slam quarter-final.

Azarenka lost to Serena Williams in the final for the past two years and will drop out of the top 20 as a result of this loss.

The former world No 1 had played by far her best tournament since returning from a persistent foot injury at Eastbourne in June.

But it had not been an easy journey and she was pushed all the way by 21-year-old qualifier Aleksandra Krunic in the previous round.

Makarova, on the other hand, went into the match having not dropped a set and upset seventh seed Eugenie Bouchard last time out.

It was a contest of fierce hitting but it was left-hander Makarova who recovered from a break down to edge the first set with a break of serve in the final game.

The Russian is the leading female player to be coached by a woman having worked with Evgenia Manyukova since 2007.

Azarenka put the pressure on early in the second set but Makarova resisted and then broke for 4-2, prompting Azarenka to destroy her racquet.

It did not help her cause, though, with Makarova ending the match on a run of four games in a row, clinching victory when Azarenka placed a forehand wide.

Makarova said: “Finally I am in the semi-finals. I had five chances and finally I’m here. It’s a great feeling.”

On being coached by Manyukova, Makarova said: “I just really enjoy to work with her. Eight years we are working together and it’s getting better and better.”

Caroline Wozniacki stayed on course for a second grand slam final appearance with a 6-0 6-1 rout of Sara Errani in the quarter-finals.

The 10th seed will be a big favourite to reach the final when she takes on unseeded Chinese player Peng Shuai in the last four.

The 24-year-old said: “It was a great match. It was really tricky conditions with the wind but I stayed aggressive and it really paid off today.

“The first game was very important. I was a little bit nervous but I served really well after that.

“To be in the semi-finals means so much to me.

“It’s been an up and down year but it’s an incredible feeling and it shows that hard work pays off,” she said.