By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd
Big guns misfired but bring on the big shots
Victoria Azarenka (BLR) v Ekaterina Makarova (RUS)
Victoria Azarenka is the favourite to be crowned Eastbourne 2010 champion after scything her way past top names on grass, but faces a daunting task against world no100 Ekaterina Makarova.
Belarussian ace Azarenka has been at her high-pitched shrieking best to dismiss quality players in her side of the draw, including a first round exit for 2008 Eastbourne winner Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland and a semi-final success over French ace Marion Bartoli – both in straight sets.
Makarova has been in emphatic form, and steamrolled her way through three qualifying matches as well as the main draw without dropping a set.
The giant-killer subdued battling Australian Sam Stosur in a memorable semi-final showdown, fighting back from an initial 3-0 deficit before her coach intervened and a change of tactics deservedly edged her into the final.
Little known Russian Makarova is the first qualifier to reach the final at Eastbourne since compatriot Vera Duchevina finished runner-up to Belgian’s Kim Clijsters at Devonshire Park in 2005.
Makarova tore past in-form compatriot Svetlana Kuznetsova, a two-time grand slam champion and a former winner at Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park, with a gritty performance and is becoming an expert at tiebreak victories.
She has made a mockery of the seedings at Devonshire Park this year, having pulled off a set of impressive results since the qualifying stages, and doesn’t look like running out of steam on the big stage – she could also surprise the entertaining Azarenka.
Victoria Azarenka vs Ekaterina Makarova
|Jul 31, 1989||Birthday||Jun 07, 1988|