Makarova Conquers Pattaya City
Published February 02, 2014 12:14
Having been pushed to three sets in three of her previous four rounds - including battling back from 2-0 down in the third set to beat Kimiko Date-Krumm in the quarterfinals - the No.4-seeded Makarova showed some steely nerves not to let Pliskova push her the distance too, fighting off two set points in the second set tie-break to edge the Czech in about as tight a two-setter as possible, 63 76(7).
The two players also put on an impressive serving display with 20 of the 21 games going to the server (Makarova got the lone break in the second-to-last game of the first set) and Pliskova showing a penchant for serving up aces - she blasted 10 in the match, including six in her opening service game.
At the end of the day Makarova was just too tough though, collecting the second WTA title of her career. Her first came at the Premier-level grass court tournament in Eastbourne back in 2010.
"I was a little bit angry in the tie-break because she served really well twice and then returned one just on the line, and then it was 5-all again," Makarova said. "Then I missed an easy ball, and it was set point - luckily she hit her first double fault of the match then. But she had another set point after that and I just tried to keep playing everything in the court and be aggressive at the same time.
"Of course, I'm really happy I could win today. It was a nervous ending and a really tough match, and she was playing really great tennis today. She was serving especially well. I needed to be very focused on my returns to make the points. This is my second WTA title, so I'm really happy about it."
And how will the Russian celebrate her triumph at the picturesque WTA tournament? "Actually we have a flight at 2:30 in the morning, so I think we'll celebrate here a little bit and then in the plane also.
"The next day and the next week you're always moving on to a new tournament, so you want to make these moments longer. It goes by really fast. So I will try to hold onto this moment as long as I can."
Pliskova had taken out two seeds - No.7 seed Bethanie Mattek-Sands and No.3 seed Sorana Cirstea, saving two match points against the Romanian - en route to her second WTA final. Her first WTA final came last year in Kuala Lumpur, where she actually ended up beating Mattek-Sands for the title.
"I think she played better than me the whole match," Pliskova said of Makarova. "The last two matches I won from two match points down and from 0-3 in the third, so I just tried to stay in the match in the second set and just tried to fight, because I thought it might happen again. But in the end it didn't.
"I was really close to getting it to a third set but she was playing too well today. And I was feeling tired in the second set already - so I don't know what the third set would have been like anyway."