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By Erik Gudris

Ekaterina Makarova Australian Open (January 21, 2013) -- With her consistent results down under, fans are now making it a habit to pencil in Ekaterina Makarova into the last eight each year in Melbourne. Find out more about this top 20 Russian player.

1. Ms. Muscovite: Makarova was born in Moscow, Russia on June 7th, 1988. She continues to make the Russian capital her home.

2. Early Years: Makarova picked up the sport at six years old when a friend got her interested in the game. She joined the WTA at fifteen and started playing her first ITF events in 2003.

3. Eastbourne Emergence: After slowly climbing up the ranks, Makarova made her breakthrough in 2010 at Eastbourne. Without dropping a set all week, she beat five top 20 players en route to the finals where she beat Victoria Azarenka to claim her first and so far only WTA title.

4. Melbourne Marvel: In 2011, Makarova began an impressive run of results at the Australian Open. That year she upset Ana Ivanovic in the first round en route to reaching the fourth round for the first time. The next year, Makarova shocked Serena Williams in the fourth round before going on to the quarterfinals. Makarova has once again returned to the AO quarterfinals in 2013. So far she has taken out Marion Bartoli and Angelique Kerber but fell to Maria Sharapova, whom Makarova lost to in the 2012 quarterfinals.

5. In Her Own Words: When asked why she has performed so well in Melbourne the last few years, Makarova said, "I don't know why, but I'm so comfortable to be here, so enjoying the city, stadium, everything. I don't know, maybe it's the beginning of the year and you a little bit like want to play.  You rest couple months  I'm so happy. I'm enjoying to be here." (Source: AustralianOpen.com)

6. Grand Slam Glory: Makarova teamed up with Bruno Soares to win the 2012 U.S. Open Mixed Doubles title. It was her first ever title at a Grand Slam event.

7. Idol Worship: Makarova cites Anastasia Myskina and Roger Federer as her two favorite players.

8. Playing Style: Makarova plays left-handed and her favorite shot is her two-handed backhand.

9. Favorite Food: Pizza and fresh Apple Juice (Source: WTA.com)

10. Sharapova Showdown: Makarova is looking forward to taking on Sharapova again in the quarters of Melbourne. "She won a lot of matches easily because she is playing so aggressive, staying into the court. I have some plan against her.  We played a lot of times so we know each other.  I think we'll be a good match and I try to show my best tennis."


(Photo Credit: Getty)

 

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