A week ago, Julia Goerges put up a stunning performance to easily oust Ekaterina Makarova in the quarterfinal of the Connecticut Open for her first win over the talented Russian. On the same day, we also found out that they were poised for a blockbuster and interesting second-round encounter at the 2018 US Open.
Today, the repeat of their match-up was played on Grandstand and Goerges came into the encounter as the favourite considering her red-hot form. The soaring temperatures troubled many players in the tournament but it did not affect their quality of play. However, the giant-killing former top-10 player snuck in yet another upset victory at a Major event, this time overcoming the odds and turning the tides to claim a confident 7-6, 6-3 win over Goerges.
It was a terrific display from Makarova, who managed to find 20 winners past the more powerful German, who also found 22 winners but often misfired. Goerges was struggling with Makarova’s ability to retrieve every ball and her frustration resulted in countless errors — 29 of them to be exact. As compared to Makarova who was playing so clean (14 errors), Goerges’ serving statistics could not match the Russian’s as well.
Makarova claimed 76 percent of points behind her first serves while what could be the most impressive statistic of the match would be her second serve win percentage. Winning 70 percent of those points allowed the Russian to end the match unscathed on her serve, not even being broken once. Goerges was only broken once throughout the entire match but even winning 59 percent of her second serve points could not help her to avoid defeat.
Moving into the third round here at Flushing Meadows for the eighth time in her career, Makarova looks to make the second week but a tough opponent awaits next. Anastasija Sevastova, whom the Russian has a 3-1 head-to-head record against having lost to her in Fed Cup this year, will pose a tough challenge but the former top-10 player aims to capitalize on her chance and mount a deep run while improving on her ranking as well.
Makarova edges topsy-turvy opening set
Both players were incredibly solid on their serves and neither was able to find the breakthrough on the return. Goerges found herself in trouble in the opening game after she started the match with a series of unforced errors, particularly on her forehand wing. Nonetheless, some world-class aggressive play from the ninth seed saved herself from the brink and survived the early nerves.
The German world number nine had the golden opportunity to draw the first blood in the sixth game after Makarova threw in an unfortunate double-fault, but she would rue her missed chances as she committed yet another unforced error on her forehand to pave the way for Makarova to hold serve narrowly.
Serving to stay in the set at 4-5 down, Makarova, who is known for her struggles with dealing with the pressure, conceded triple break points and Goerges seemed on course to claim yet another win over the Russian. However, at the sight of the finishing line, Goerges experienced a slight hiccup as errors oozed out of her game, with Makarova serving up some bombs to claim the huge confidence-boosting hold which completely changed the outcome of the match.
The tiebreak saw Makarova come up with some big serves to power to a 5-2 lead, serving four unreturnable serves in the process. Goerges gifted the Russian with four set points after throwing in a double-fault, but Makarova handed back the favour with one of her own. It seemed as though neither of them could close out the set as both players faltered just before the finishing line — Makarova earned nine set points in the tiebreak and committed errors on four of them. The 2014 semifinalist was finally ninth-time lucky, closing out the set with yet another powerful service winner.
Makarova claims sole break to triumph
With both players being more settled into the conditions, the second set featured some high-quality play from both players while the servers dominated the play. Makarova did not concede a single point on serve until the seventh game, but that only came after Goerges was broken for the first time in the match. Notably, that was the first break of the match itself.
Makarova claimed the break with a stunning defensive forehand down-the-line winner, but she faced some troubles in attempting to consolidate the break. She led 40-0 on her serve, winning 16 consecutive points off them, but conceded four consecutive points as she faced a break point all of a sudden.
Goerges, though, continued to be wasteful on her opportunities as she allowed Makarova to close out the tough game for a commanding 5-2 lead. Apart for the four points she lost in the game on her serve, the Russian was playing some flawless tennis and she served out the match to love, firing 10 winners and hitting just two errors in this set.