It’s fair to say that it has not been a successful 12 months for Ekaterina Makarova. Last Wimbledon she was seeded 8th for the tournament, though now finds herself unseeded and facing the risk of playing a big star early on.
However, the Russian is certainly a dangerous player who no one will want to face at SW19 this summer.
Notable results so far
Makarova missed a few months of 2015 with injury, and she has been fairly inconsistent since her return to the tour in 2016; she has a 12-10 win-loss rate for the year so far.
There have been some highlights for the talented Russian, who reached a career high of eighth last year. She reached the second week of the Australian Open for the sixth consecutive year, beating the likes of Tatjana Maria and Karolina Pliskova before losing to Johanna Konta. She also made the quarterfinals in Miami, where she beat Lesia Tsurenko, Petra Kvitova, and Elina Svitolina before losing to Svetlana Kuznetsova.
There have been some poor results this season as well. Makarova lost in her opening matches in Doha, Dubai and Stuttgart, whilst she only made the second round at the French Open. The Russian also suffered early losses in Rabat, Rome, Madrid and Indian Wells.
Grass court preparation for Wimbledon
Makarova has followed her traditional steps in preparing for the third major of the season; she has missed the first two weeks of the grass court season, and as usual is playing at the Aegon International in Eastbourne.
Makarova has good memories at Eastbourne, winning the title in 2010, and has got her campaign off to a good start so far. The Russian saw off the spirited fight of Tara Moore in the first round, beating the Brit in two sets, and then came from a set down in the second round to beat second seed Roberta Vinci; her second top ten win of the year.
The Russian started her third round match against Andrea Petkovic today, though that match will be finished on Thursday after just one game was completed before rain ended play.
Best run at Wimbledon
The Russian’s best run at Wimbledon came in 2014, where she made the last eight at a slam for the fourth time in her career.
Seeded 22nd, Makarova had a surprisingly difficult first round clash but eventually beat the veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm from a set down. Neither of her next two matches were easy, but she was able to secure straight sets wins over Misaki Doi in the second round and Caroline Garcia in the third round.
In the fourth round, she recorded arguably her best win of her entire career. On Court 2, Makarova destroyed 4th seed and 2012 finalist Agnieszka Radwanska for the loss of just three games in an eye-catching performance. However, any joy was short-lived as she was beaten by Lucie Safarova for the loss of just four games in the quarterfinals.
Makarova will be looking to improve on her showing last year, where she lost in the second round to Magdalena Rybarikova.
How Makarova’s game translates to the surface
Having a big serve is undoubtedly an advantage on grass, due to the speed you can pick up, and Makarova certainly has this. Furthermore, she is left-handed, which means her serve will be even more difficult to challenge.
Also, Makarova is a very strong doubles play and is extremely comfortable at the net. This is another strength for her on grass, as it means that she can easily end points by coming into the net.