Ekaterina Makarova produced another stunning performance to defeat last year's US Open finalist, Victoria Azarenka, 6-4 6-2 in one hour and 27 minutes. Although it was decided in straight sets, this was a thoroughly entertaining match. Makarova recovered from a break down in the first set to take it, 6-4. Azarenka broke to lead *3-2 and had game points to consolidate the break; however two consecutive winners from Makarova helped the Russian player secure the break back immediately. After a gutsy hold at *4-4, Makarova broke to win the opening set.
Azarenka saved four break points in her first service game of the second set (coming from *0-40 down) and then saved another two in the second one. Azarenka fought extremely hard to stay in the match, but Makarova did not buckle. There was one hilarious point where a miscued Makarova lob somehow trickled over the net catching Azarenka completely unaware; however she somehow managed to get the ball back in play and Makarova missed on the next shot. There were so many opportunities for Makarova to lose her concentration, but she held it together marvellously well. In Azarenka's third service game, Makarova finally converted on a break point. Azarenka snapped and completely destroyed her racquet. Makarova won the next two games without much fuss to book her place in the US Open semi-finals where she will play either Serena Williams or Flavia Pennetta.
Like Peng Shuai, Ekaterina Makarova is into her first ever Grand Slam semi-final and hasn't dropped a set all week. Furthermore, Lucie Safarova also achieved the same feat when she reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon. Makarova has been in brilliant form of late; she reached the semi-finals of the International event in Washington D.C. and the semi-finals of the Premier event in Montreal. Despite those performances, she has still gone under the radar at this tournament. As well as reaching the semi-finals of the singles tournament, Makarova is into the semi-finals of the doubles tournament with her partner, Elena Vesnina. The pair beat the Williams sisters, 7-6(5) 6-4 on Tuesday.
The first of the US Open semi-finals is already set and will be between Peng Shuai and Caroline Wozniacki. On Tuesday, Peng cruised past Belinda Bencic, 6-2 6-1 in the day session and Wozniacki rolled past Sara Errani, 6-0 6-1 in the night session. It was another great performance from Wozniacki, who hit 26 winners to 10 unforced errors and broke Errani's serve on all six occasions. Both Wozniacki and Peng have played some superb tennis this fortnight. After two one-sided quarter-finals, i'm hopeful that the pair will produce an exciting semi-final. If you missed Peng's delightful press conference after her quarter-final win then you can watch it here.
This post was written by James of Moo's Tennis Blog