WTA Eastbourne: Johanna Konta reaches the semifinals after defeating Ekaterina Makarova

After an outstanding performance against Petra Kvitova, Johanna Konta has reached the semifinals of the Aegon International in Eastbourne in a tough battle against former Wimbledon quarterfinalist, Ekaterina Makarova. The Brit who last year reached the quarterfinals before losing to Belinda Bencic is aiming to reach her first WTA final and to make it more special in her hometown. Konta got through a tough first set to eventually win the match 7-6, 6-3.

Makarova fights, but Konta takes the tiebreaker

It was not a great start for the Brit who lost her serve in the opening game of the match after the Russian hit a good return followed by a forehand winner. Makarova consolidated the break with her serve and was up 2-0. After a tough start, Konta needed to stay close behind the Russian and she did when she got on the scoreboard after holding her serve. The Brit quickly got three break points after Makarova hit three unforced errors to give Konta a chance to get back into the set, but just as quick as she got them she lost two of them, one by an unforced error and the other one when the Russian hit an ace. However, Konta didn’t miss her last chance to break and completed the break with a backhand winner to level things at 2-2.

Konta later confirmed the break when she held her serve without complications. The Russian later would also hold to keep things tight and after another exchange of holds, the so wanted break happened for the Russian who trailed off with a 0-40 lead, although the Brit saved one that didn’t help as Makarova went up 5-4 and would have the chance to serve for the set. The Russian started her quest for the first set with a double fault followed by a stroke of luck when the ball hit the net and made it impossible for Konta to reach for it. However, the Brit showed her best when she hit a backhand crosscourt winner followed by a mistake from the Russian to give her a double break point to Konta. The Brit got the break when Makarova missed an easy volley.

 Ekaterina Makarova plays a forehand during her match against Johanna Konta of the WTA Aegon International. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)
Ekaterina Makarova plays a forehand during her match against Johanna Konta of the WTA Aegon International. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

The British number one then held her serve to at least have the chance to go to a tiebreak in case she didn’t break. The tiebreak was confirmed when Makarova had an easy hold. Konta served first and held after hitting a passing shot. The Russian the threw in a powerful forehand that made Konta hit the ball into the net to level things at 1-1. However, things started to complicate to Makarova who lost the following point when Konta hit an outstanding crosscourt forehand. The players then would have an exciting rally in which Makarova’s defensive skills helped her to get back the mini break. A mistake from the Brit would give the early lead to Makarova who was now up 3-2 and subsequently 4-2 until she lost another point on her serve. The Brit then held both of her serves and turned the scoreboard leading 5-4. Makarova would win a point on her serve to keep things close, but a great drop shot by Konta and a missed volley by Makarova gave set point to the Brit. Konta didn’t waste any time and threw in a good serve that helped her grab the first set in just under an hour.

Konta gets the definitive break

Konta had a great start of the set when she broke Makarova to love, however, the lead of the Brit didn’t last long when she had a very erratic game of serve in which she served two double faults, one on break point. After getting over an early break, Makarova had no problem to hold her serve to love and the Brit also had an easy game of serve. A miss hit from the Russian gave Konta another break point, but she managed to save it to be 3-2. Still, the Brit was not giving anything away, holding her serve without problems. An exchange of holds happened next for the set to stand 4-4.

Four terrible unforced errors gave Konta what she wanted a break to love and now was on her racquet to serve for a spot in the semifinals. The Brit who had an excellent week didn’t show signs of nerves at the time of closing the set. Not even a double fault could stop Konta who was gifted two match points following the errors of Makarova. A wide backhand gave the Brit the win that lasted one hour and 34 minutes.

Karolina Pliskova Next

Konta will play her semifinal match today as well against the always dangerous Karolina Pliskova. The Czech leads the head-to-head 4-0. Their last match happened this year at Indian Wells where Pliskova prevailed in three sets. As a matter of fact, their last three matches have gone to three sets.