Carla Suarez Navarro continued her dominance over Ekaterina Makarova in the third round of the US Open with a tough three-set victory, prevailing after an hour and 41 minutes of play. Makarova’s fighting spirit was evident despite the loss as she fought back from a set and a break down to send the match into a deciding set, where she just fell short. Suarez Navarro will now face Venus Williams in the fourth round for a place in the quarterfinals.
Suarez Navarro strolls to clinch the opening set 6-1
The one-sided head to head definitely changed the mentality of both players coming into the match, with Suarez Navarro having the mental edge as she won their last four meetings. The Spaniard showed no signs of any early jitters in the match after she comfortably held her serve in the opening game. There is definitely a reason why Suarez Navarro dominates her match-ups with Makarova — the fact that she is able to play with well-controlled aggression and frustrate the Russian using her deep groundstrokes.
Makarova got herself into some deep trouble early in the match when she trailed 0-3 on the scoreboard, looking all over the place as she failed to find her groove. Makarova’s tactics of going up to the net more often worked momentarily in the fourth game as it helped her to finally get onto the scoreboard. However, Suarez Navarro remained focused and claimed 12 of the last 14 points of the first set, clinching it 6-1 after just a mere 22 minutes of play. This set saw Makarova hit just two winners and 13 unforced errors.
Makarova produces an improbable comeback
Makarova was just disastrous in all aspects as she failed to find her range at all, getting broken to love in the opening game of the second set. Hitting her sixth unforced error in eight points, the Russian allowed her nemesis to consolidate the break for a 2-0 lead and she looked poised for the comfortable victory. The win looked all but sealed for the Suarez Navarro when she earned a break point in the third game, but that was when everything started to change.
There, Makarova produced an inspired performance and came back from the brink to narrowly hold her serve. It was an unbelievable run of five consecutive games despite being down-and-out just 20 minutes before, with Makarova jumping out to a huge 5-2 lead to be just a game away from clinching the set. Although Suarez Navarro held her serve to stay in contention, it was still not enough to get past the in-form Russian as she successfully served out the second set 6-3 to level the scores.
Suarez Navarro maintains composure and closes out the win
A lengthy bathroom break for the Spaniard in between both sets seemed to have worked well as she claimed a love service hold in the opening game before relying on a couple of errors by Makarova to break serve and take the early lead. The third game was pivotal in deciding the outcome of the match as Suarez Navarro prevailed in a tight service game to hold onto her lead and extend her advantage.
The unseeded Spaniard then edged closer than ever to the victory, breaking serve for the second time in the decider as she powered herself to a huge 5-1 lead. Despite Makarova’s toughest resistance, the Russian was unable to complete the comeback as Suarez Navarro eventually served out the match to love, clinching the win with an ace on match point.