The first match of the US Open quarterfinals was played Tuesday on Arthur Ashe Stadium between fifth-seeded Li Na and 24th-seeded Ekaterina Makarova and the higher-ranked Chinese extended her perfect head-to-head record against the Russian to 4-0. Li and Makarova fought an epic three-setter for two hours and 20 minutes, 6-4 6-7(5) 6-2.
Li broke Makarova’s serve at the very beginning of the first set, before the Russian showed that it wasn’t just her luck that she defeated third-seeded Pole Agnieszka Radwanska in the fourth round. Makarova immediately leveled to 1-1, but after that it seemed like Li was doing everything a little better than her opponent and won the set 6-4.
The second set started almost like the first. Li took a 4-2 lead, but then Makarova raced back and forced a tiebreak, which she eventually won. Li commented after the match:
After I lost the second set, I was a little bit sad. But I just kept telling myself to go point by point. Today, I was so nervous.
In the third set Li managed to make a break at 4-2 and advance to 5-2. This time Chinese Li Na kept her lead till the end and finished the third set 6-2 in just half an hour.
Later today world No.1 Serena Williams will play seed No.18 Carla Suarez Navarro. The winner of the match will be Li’s semifinal opponent. (photo: © Neal Trousdale)