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How The Match Was Won: Lucie Safarova v Ekaterina Makarova

by Vivienne Christie
Tuesday 1 July 2014

The key components of Lucie Safarova's 6-3, 6-1 quarter-final win against Ekaterina Makarova.

A strong start: Winning her first two service games to love, Safarova added pressure with an early service break against Makarova. She lost just a single point in the first three games, establishing a dominance that proved unwavering.

The serve: Surrendering just a handful of points in most service games, a strong serve was the difference when the Czech experienced her only hint of trouble while attempting to serve out the first set. A trio of aces from 0-40 down were among an influential eight for the match.

Aggression: Whether it was with her forehand or backhand, from the baseline or the net, it was Safarova that dictated play throughout the 58-minute encounter. There were 13 errors against her 24 winners but that only demonstrated the intensity with which the 27-year-old was competing in her first Grand Slam quarter-final.

Punishing returns: Safarova was fearless as she returned the Makarova serve, her snapping winners preventing the Russian from getting into any substantial rallies. It was vastly different to the rhythm that Makarova established as she upset No.4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska the previous day.

Seizing the opportunity: After failing to convert a match point against eventual champion Li Na at the Australian Open, Safarova knows the heartbreak of surrendering tight matches. It’s understandable then, that having progressed through the Championships without the loss of a set, she simply never allowed Makarova the opportunity to get close. She’ll be determined to maintain that intensity against Petra Kvitova in the all-Czech semi-final.

The path to the semi-final

Round 1 – d. Julia Goerges (GER) 7-6(3), 7-6(3) in one hour and 37 minutes.
Safarova is ranked 77 places higher than the world No.99 German but the tight contest was reflective of others they’ve played. Safarova’s win evens their head-to-head record to two matches each.

Round 2 – d. Polona Hercog (SLO) 7-6(7), 7-5 in one hour and 48 minutes
In their first meeting on grass, it was Safarova who claimed the tight contest. She hit 30 winners against the world No.63 to survive the longest match of her tournament so far.

Round 3 - d. Dominika Cibulkova (SVK), 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 18 minutes
Every inspired Grand Slam run has its turning point, and this was Safarova’s. Her upset of the tournament’s No.10 seed, and Australian Open finalist, was her first win against Cibulkova in the four professional matches they’ve played.

Round 4 – d. Tereza Smitkova (CZE) 6-0, 6-2 in 48 minutes
Safarova showed no sympathy to her younger countrywoman, a No.175-ranked qualifier, as she maintained a blemish-free record at the Championships with her most convincing victory yet.

Quarter-final d- Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 6-3, 6-1 in 58 minutes
The serve was firing, the ground strokes were damaging but most of all the intensity was unwavering as Safarova confidently progressed to the final four of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career.

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