2017 Wimbledon Player Profile: Ekaterina Makarova

Ekaterina Makarova returns to the Wimbledon Championships as one of the most dangerous floaters around the draw having been ranked in the Top 10 previously, and she looks to create some upsets to replicate her run to the second week from last year.

2017 Wimbledon Player Profile: Ekaterina Makarova
Ekaterina Makarova in action at the Wimbledon Championships last year | Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe

Former world number eight Ekaterina Makarova makes her tenth consecutive appearance in the main draw of the Wimbledon Championships, but this time she returns as a dangerous unseeded player having fallen in the rankings due to some injury problems that have been hindering her in the past few years. 240 points could prove very crucial for a player ranked in the 40s, and Makarova would have to defend most of her fourth round points from last year if she were to prevent herself from dropping in the rankings.

Notable Results to Date

A poor start to the season saw Makarova lose her opening two matches of the year, but she managed to end off the Down Under tournaments on a positive note as she reached the second week of the Australian Open for an impressive seventh consecutive time. Defeating Dominika Cibulkova in the process, the Russian managed to regain some confidence through her favorite tournament.

Ekaterina Makarova hits a backhand at last year's Wimbledon Championships | Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe
Ekaterina Makarova hits a backhand at last year's Wimbledon Championships | Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe

Falling to doubles partner Elena Vesnina in an all-Russian affair at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy held in Russia, Makarova then helped her country to a 4-1 victory in the Fed Cup over Chinese Taipei with the former top 10 player earning two singles victories of her own.

Wasting the perfect opportunities to progress deep in big tournaments, Makarova defeated Cibulkova yet again but was unable to back up her huge win as she unexpectedly fell to Lauren Davis in three sets at the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships. The North American hardcourt swing was a disaster for the Russian as she exited in the second round after receiving byes in both Indian Wells and Miami, losing to lower-ranked players on both occasions.

She seemed to have regained some confidence and momentum in her game when she earned her third Top 10 win this year, defeating Agnieszka Radwanska in Stuttgart before losing to the resurgent comeback player Maria Sharapova. Clay produced some good memories for Makarova as she outclassed Roberta Vinci and earned an unbelievable third victory over Cibulkova this year. The Russian also claimed the biggest win of her career in terms of rankings after demolishing world number one Angelique Kerber in the first round of the French Open, losing just a mere four games.

Ekaterina Makarova serves at the Wimbledon Championships last year | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe
Ekaterina Makarova serves at the Wimbledon Championships last year | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe

Grass Court Results leading up to Wimbledon

Makarova has only opted to participate in one grass court even in the lead-up to Wimbledon, considering she has not many expectations since grass is not her best surface. The lefty fell to Carla Suarez Navarro in two easy sets at the Aegon International held in Eastbourne, winning just four games in the lopsided loss.

Best Wimbledon Result

Makarova has only reached the second week at Wimbledon twice in her career, which all came in the last three years. 2014 saw the Russian defeat Caroline Garcia and Agnieszka Radwanska on her way to the quarterfinals, her best result achieved in London. Despite having a tough draw last year, Makarova stormed to the fourth round as she outclassed Petra Kvitova and Barbora Strycova before falling short in a thriller against doubles partner Elena Vesnina in the fourth round.

Ekaterina Makarova celebrates her huge victory over Petra Kvitova last year | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe
Ekaterina Makarova celebrates her huge victory over Petra Kvitova last year | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe

Makarova is able to perform well on clay, and one of her two WTA titles in her career was won as a qualifier at the Aegon International back in 2010, defeating five consecutive former/present Top 10 players at that particular moment to unexpectedly clinch the title. She claimed impressive victories over Flavia Pennetta, Nadia Petrova, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Samantha Stosur and finally Victoria Azarenka in the final to win her first ever WTA title in the most impressive fashion.

How Makarova’s game translates onto the surface

Being an all-court player, Makarova aims to use both power and angles to dictate play throughout her matches. The backhand is famously known for being the highlight of the Russian’s game, and she is able to hit winners off that wing easily. Solid at the baseline, Makarova has a powerful forehand to help to follow up that effective backhand, which has been crucial in her rise into the Top 10 a couple of years ago.

Ekaterina Makarova in action at the Aegon International last year | Photo: Tom Dulat/Getty Images Europe
Ekaterina Makarova in action at the Aegon International last year | Photo: Tom Dulat/Getty Images Europe

The lefty serve is yet another crucial weapon in Makarova’s game as it allows her to force the opponents out of court to retrieve the serves, allowing her to take the offense easily. Not only is the serve equipped with power, but the Russian is also able to add an incredible amount of slice on it, thus adding to its effectiveness.

Winning the Olympics Gold Medal in doubles and the WTA Finals last year, Makarova is an accomplished doubles player and thus has some great hands at the net, being able to finish off points easily there. Having a history of performing well against the higher-ranked players, Makarova is just one of the two active left-handed players to defeat Serena Williams in a Grand Slam match.