2010 AEGON International
By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd
Russian Makarova outmuscles Stosur
Ekatrina Makarova defeated Sam Stosur 7-6 7-5
Ekatrina Makarova, the Russian qualifier, continued her surge through the strong draw without dropping a set to shock French Open finalist Sam Stosur 7-6(5) 7-5.
Hard-hitting Stosur powered into a 3-0 lead and appeared to be well on her way to a first final at Devonshire Park.
But world no100 Makarova consulted with her coach and whatever was said certainly paid dividends, as the 26-year-old’s change of tactics saw her outmuscle the Australian and fire off a string of sensational winners.
Once back on level terms, Makarova and Stosur traded breaks of serve to move into a tiebreaker. But the Russian went for winners to wrap up the opening set.
The lead instilled added confidence for Makarova and with subdued Stosur getting more erratic it was a question of when the Australian would be broken.
The world no7 slipped up in the 12th game to drop her serve and gift hard-working Makarova a deserved victory.
Stosur said: “On the whole it’s still good preparation for Wimbledon despite having played as many matches as I have. Physically I feel fine, but I will take a day off tomorrow and then have a day or two to prepare for the first round of Wimbledon.”
But Makarova explained: “When you play good tennis and you are winning all the time, it is not hard to recover – you just want to play the next match and the next match while you are at the top of your game.”
|Stosur||Makarova||6-3 6-4||1/4||26 Sep 08||Korea Open||Hard|
Azarenka blazes past Bartoli
Victoria Azarenka defeated Marion Bartoli 6-3 7-5
Unseeded Victoria Azarenka, who has suffered a lean year in comparison to her breakthrough season of 2009, shot down serial Eastbourne semi-finalist Marion Bartoli with ease 6-3 7-5.
Azarenka has faced an incredibly tough draw to march into the final, storming past many leading players in the process with her trademark loud shrieking annoying opponents and fans alike.
Part Arizona-based and part Paris-based Azarenka sparkled against the no8 seed in the opening set, with breaks in the third and ninth games earning her a deserved lead.
But the French ace, playing in her fourth consecutive semi-final at Devonshire Park, was in no mood to give up despite the Centre Court favouring the 20-year-old.
The Belarussian’s powerful serves and breathtaking groundstrokes were flashes of the form and ability that saw her break into the world’s top 10 in 2009.
Both the players dazzled the appreciative crowd with surging shots and only traded one break each until deadly accurate Azarenka piled on the pressure in the 12th game of the second set to claim an emphatic triumph.
Azarenka, the world no15, saw off 2008 Eastbourne winner Agnieszka Radwanska in the opening round and 2005 Eastbourne champion Kim Clijsters at the quarter-final stage.
She admitted: “It was a very tough match, she kept moving me from side to side. I was serving really well today and putting a lot of pressure on her, but that was the biggest key today.
“I’m pleased to be at Eastbourne after having to pull out the last two years as it has been a while since I won so many matches at a tournament.”
|Azarenka||Bartoli||6-3 6-1||Fin.||10 Jan 09||Brisbane Int.|