Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Lucie Safarova vs Ekaterina Makarova (Wimbledon QF Preview)

Lucie Safarova and Ekaterina Makarova both are having their best Wimbledon results and have equalled their best Grand Slam outings. There will be a lot on the line for both players, a career first Slam semi-final and a chance to surpass their career best singles rankings. Currently they are separated by just one spot in the rankings with Safarova sitting at no.23 and Makarova at 22. Their career best singles rankings have been near each other as well, with Safarova peaking at no.17 and Makraova going up-to no.19.

Makarova's best Wimbledon result had been a 3rd round showing last year, while Safarova progressed to the same stage in 2007.

The pair has played twice before and have split their meetings with Sfarova coming out on top in straight sets in Moscow in 2009 on hard courts while Makarova avenged that defeat in Madrid last year in straight sets.

Grass suits the game of both players and both were ruthless in their fourth round matches. Safarova was the first to advance as she put a master-class performance to end the Wimbledon dreams of Tereza Smitkova. Sfarova won 91% points behind her first serve and 62% behind her second serve to win 6-2 6-0. Safarova went 19-4 for winners - unforced errors.

Makarova had a greater task on hand in former WImbledon finalist Radwanska but she was up for it as she put in 78% of her first serves and won 87% of those points. Makarova hit 24 winners to just 6 unforced errors in her 6-3 6-0 win over Radwanska.

Nerves will be a factor in this match. Makarova is a more experienced player at this stage, she has been to the quarter-finals of grand slams thrice and has also been a winner and a runners up in doubles at Grand Slams (Roland Garros and Australian Open respectively). Safarova on the other hand has never been beyond the quarter-finals either in singles or doubles. This is just her second grand slam quarter-final.

It should be a good match with both players games well suited for grass. The serve and the nerve will be the deciding factor, the player who better manages both will come out on top. Makarova might have an emotional let down after her win over Radwanska, but given her performance (excluding the first round) she should be favoured to make it to her first grand slam semi-final. My gut feeling is Safarova will tough it out but my head says Makarova will handle the Czech and march to her first grand slam semi-final.

Winner : Makarova

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