Overcoming a slow start to the match, former top-10 player Ekaterina Makarova continued to solidify her status as a giant-killer as she earned yet another win over a top player, this time defeating 15th seed Anastasija Sevastova in the first round of the Wuhan Open, ousting the higher-ranked Latvian in straight sets.
Recovering from a 1-4 deficit in the early stages, Makarova did not look back from then onwards as the Russian blasted 22 winners and just a mere 13 unforced errors en route to the well-deserved victory. Her reward is a place in the second round, where she will either face Andrea Petkovic or Lauren Davis, who will face off tomorrow.
Sevastova earns the best possible start
Serving to start the match, Sevastova showed no signs of any early jitters as she eased to a comfortable service hold in the opening game, with Makarova unable to find her range early on. The Russian would rue her choice of receiving first as she was immediately broken in the next game after her unforced errors proved to be costly in the early stages. Fending off a break point with an unreturnable serve, Sevastova eventually consolidated the break and jumped out to a formidable 3-0 lead within just 10 minutes of play.
Makarova finds her groove
Makarova finally got onto the scoreboard with a solid service hold, with some credits going to an on-court coaching session with new coach Thomas Hogstedt, who is currently with her on a trial basis, having experienced success with former pupils Maria Sharapova and Li Na in the past. After surviving yet another tight service game, Sevastova found herself comfortably leading 4-1 on the scoreboard and looked to close out the first set in a hurry.
Makarova mounts incredible comeback
Unexpectedly, Makarova mounted a huge comeback out of nowhere as she quickly upped her level of play after managing to find her groove. Playing with a high level of confidence and consistency, the Russian broke back in the seventh game with Sevastova throwing in two double-faults in one game to gift back the advantage, returning level on serve. Her net game and forehands were so good that even the crafty play of Sevastova could not handle it. The adrenaline kicked in for Makarova, winning five consecutive games to clinch the first set 6-4 from being 1-4 down.
Makarova makes perfect start to the second set
Makarova then carried over the momentum into the second set, breaking serve easily in the opening game as the Russian led by a set and a break. Everything was just going so well for the underdog, who is currently ranked 35th in the world after she consolidated the break for a 2-0 advantage. Nothing went right for the 15th-seeded Latvian, who soon found herself trailing 0-4 as her game just derailed after her 4-1 lead.
Sevastova gets onto the scoreboard but Makarova was just too strong
Sevastova finally clinched a love service hold and won herself a game after a nine-game losing streak, regaining her composure and earning some confidence back. However, it did not affect Makarova at all as the Russian remained composed despite the loss of a game, following up with yet another love service hold and opened up a 5-2 lead to edge closer to the win. Despite Sevastova’s toughest resistance which saw her earn three break points in the last game of the match, the former top-10 player overcame her nerves to seal the win after an hour and 18 minutes of play.