Baltacha’s blown away

Ekaterina Makarova, WTA Players
elena-baltachaElena Baltacha, the world no200, looked out-of-sorts with a tame 6-3 6-0 defeat to former Eastbourne champion Ekatrina Makarova in the opening round of the 2013 French Open.

The ex-British no1, who returned to the WTA Tour following an eight-month layoff following ankle surgery after competing in the 2012 Olympic Games, will warm-up for a shot at making the main draw at Eastbourne by competing in a couple of second tier grass court tournaments.The 29-year-old only made the main draw at Roland Garros courtesy of a protected ranking due to her lengthy injury layoff, but was totally outclassed by the gritty New Zealander in just under an hour.

Baltacha explained: “I actually retired after the Olympics. I kept it to myself but I knew I was going through the motions, I just fell out of love with tennis.

“But the things I really hated about it are the things I really missed, it was really bizarre and I realised how much I love tennis. The biggest thing I missed was the one-on-one competition.

“My world ranking hasn’t really fallen that much, but I’ve got points to defend – and July would be the last points I have to defend. I know I have to be patient and going to be in qualifying a lot on tour, but I’m happy as long as I keep improving.”

Kerber’s in seventh heaven

Angelique Kerber, Ekaterina Makarova

Angelique KerberAngelique Kerber had to wait in the wings because of the rain before handing ex-Eastbourne champion Ekaterina Makarova a 59-minute tennis lesson.

The rising German star, who has made easy work of her passage to the semi-final stage, needed only 59 minutes to impressively brush aside Makarova 6-2, 6-4 to earn a seventh last four berth this term.

Kerber smiled:

This is my first time here, and I’m enjoying my stay. The courts are very good, so I think that’s the best thing I can do before Wimbledon.”

The no5 seed, who was left waiting for more than two hours after Bartoli’s swift victory, breezed past in-form Makarova – the 2010 Devonshire Park champion.

Kerber, tipped to be a world no1, was a set and 3-1 ahead when rain halted their encounter.

Kerber explained:

It wasn’t easy to manage this – you don’t know how long we need to wait until it stops raining. But I’m happy to go out there after the two hour rain delay and win the match.

“It was not easy because you don’t know how long we need to wait, when it’s stopping raining, but I’m happy to manage this and go out there after the more than two hours rain delay and win – it means a lot to be in another semifinal this year.

“It was difficult for me to go out if I was 6-2, 3-1 up and I was a little bit nervous. I just tried to focus on me, tried to make my game plan and to play until the end.

“It’s good for me to have one more match or maybe two more matches before Wimbledon, and this was my goal here.”

Makarova ends great Brit

Ekaterina Makarova, Laura Robson, Petra Kvitova

Ekaterina Makarova2012aegonLaura Robson, Britain’s great hope, put up a great fight before bowing out to Ekaterina Makarova – the 2010 Eastbourne winner and conqueror of Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

The Russian was in control on Court 1, but made hard work of dismissing the Devonshire Park debutant to register a 6-4 7-5 over the teenager.

Makarova’s strong serves and tight angle flat shots left plucky Robson chasing the match.

Robson, aged 18, admitted:

I played pretty well but she played extremely well, she’s definitely suited to the grass courts.

“I competed well, and there are still lots of things that can be improved. But in terms of where I was a few months ago, I think it’s a big improvement already.

“When she broke at the end of the second set, I just missed a few first serves and she took advantage of that.

“I’ve been trying for the last few months to work on movement and on my serve, both are improving.

“I’ve always thought that I could beat these girls, but I definitely have to bring my A game – I have to be really mentally ready for it.”laurarobsonEB2012

Robson hit two backhand errors at 2-2, missing out on two break points, and fluffed a forehand to concede the single break that proved decisive in the opening set.

But the second was a close run battle with Robson moving through the gears to show a typical British never say die attitude.

But a single below par service game by Robson proved costly. At 5-5 on Robson began with a double fault and nervously missed shots to falter without winning a point. The impressive Makarova serving out for a deserved victory.

Ladies – Friday 18 June 2010

Agnieszka Radwanska, Ekaterina Makarova, Marion Bartoli, News, Players, Sam Stosur, WTA Players

2010 AEGON International

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Previous meeting

Players Result Rd Date Tournament
Azarenka Bartoli 6-3 6-1 Fin. 10 Jan 09 Brisbane Int.