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By Chris Oddo | Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Ekaterina Makarova

Ekaterina Makarova sailed past Victoria Azarenka in straight sets to claim her first Grand Slam semifinal bid on Day 10 in New York.

Photo Source: AP

Playing in her fifth Grand Slam quarterfinal in the last 12 majors, Ekaterina Makarova of Russia finally got the result she was looking for. The tall, southpaw from Moscow took down Victoria Azarenka, 6-4, 6-2 on Wednesday afternoon in New York to claim her first Grand Slam semifinal appearance.

The 26-year-old Russian notched her second consecutive win over Azarenka, striking 23 winners and winning 81 percent of her first serve points while saving two of three break points.

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“I think before I was thinking that [quarterfinals were] a great result, and that tournament is over for me,” said Makarova, on the difference between today’s victory and her previous four losing efforts at this stage of a major. “But today I really wanted to go more forward, and it was like a different feeling. I really believed that I could come through.”

Makarova fought back from a break down in the first set to level, than took advantage of two loose forehands from Azarenka in the tenth game to steal the set.

Early in the second, Azarenka battled ferociously to hang on, saving four break points to level at 1-all, but Makarova would eventually break for 4-2, then run off the final two games to close the match in one hour and 27 minutes.

Azarenka will drop out of the top 20 as a result of not reaching the semifinals in New York. The two-time Grand Slam champion has battled injuries all year and was never able to reach her peak form in 2014.

Makarova will face either Serena Williams or Flavia Pennetta in the semifinals. She owns wins against both players (1-3 vs. Williams and 1-1 vs. Pennetta).


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