Makarova beats Azarenka to reach US Open semis

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 4, 2014 at 12:46 am •  Published: September 4, 2014
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NEW YORK (AP) — Ekaterina Makarova describes herself as a person who prefers "to stay in the shade."

At this U.S. Open, she finally believes she deserves to play under the brightest lights.

The 26-year-old Russian reached her first Grand Slam semifinal Wednesday, beating Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 6-2. Makarova lost her previous four major quarterfinals.

"Before maybe I didn't believe that much that I can come through," she said. "Today definitely was a different feeling."

Azarenka acknowledged she suffered from food poisoning the day before but didn't want to talk about how it might have affected her. Unusually subdued for most of the match, she smashed her racket after one of her 27 unforced errors gave Makarova a break and a 4-2 lead in the second set.

"I'm not going to make any excuses," she said. "I did the best I could today. I want to give full credit to my opponent. She deserves to win. She played much better than me today."

The players were seeded 16th and 17th but came in with very different resumes. Azarenka is a two-time Australian Open champion who lost to Serena Williams in the last two U.S. Open finals.

Yet in some ways, falling short of the semifinals would have been more distressing for Makarova, who lost to Lucie Safarova in straight sets in the Wimbledon quarters this summer.

"I really believed that at (this) U.S. Open I can do my best result," Makarova said. "I felt that I'm ready."

Azarenka arrived at Flushing Meadows having played just eight matches since the Australian Open because of foot and knee injuries, her ranking plunging. She got five in here, a huge help to rediscovering her rhythm.

"I can take positive from this tournament," Azarenka said. "Two months ago, I didn't even think that I was going to be able to play."

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