Makarova was playing in the biggest WTA semifinal of her career - she had never been to the semifinals of a Premier 5-level event or higher before. And she pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the tournament to get there, stunning No.2 seed and reigning Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.
And it didn't look like such a lofty goal for her to continue that run of upsets against Radwanska. After all, she had beaten her in straight sets in their last two meetings, and on some very big stages too, in the fourth round of last year's US Open and the same round of Wimbledon earlier this season.
But this time Radwanska was ready. She threatened throughout the first set - she held two set points at 5-4 and another at 6-5, though Makarova swatted them all away with big winners, two off the forehand and one off her backhand. But Radwanska pounced again in the tie-break, reeling off the first six points in a row, eventually closing the breaker out and tucking away the first set, seven points to one.
There was more drama in the second set - first Radwanska went up 3-1, then Makarova won three games in a row to go up 4-3, then Radwanska broke and served for the match at 5-4, then Makarova broke back, and eventually the two found themselves in a tie-break again. But again it was the No.3-seeded Radwanska who came through at crunch time, rolling in the breaker to seal it, 7-6(1), 7-6(3).
The numbers for the match tell the story - Makarova was the aggressor with 37 winners, while Radwanska snuck in 28 winners of her own. But there was a game-changing discrepancy in the unforced error count - Makarova had 43, while Radwanska had fewer than a third of that, with 14.
"I think it was a great match," Radwanska declared. "Two hours of fighting and long rallies and tight games - I had to really run a lot to win that match because she's so good. I had to give 100% today.
"I think I was just better on a few points today. I'm really happy with the win."
Williams leads Radwanska in their head-to-head, 5-3, but Radwanska has won their last two handily.
"I think Venus is really on fire right now," Radwanska said. "I watched her today, and a couple of days ago as well, and I think she's playing amazing this week. It's not gonna be easy, for sure.
"But it's the final, we'll both be fighting, and we'll see what happens!"
? Coupe Rogers (@CoupeRogers) August 10, 2014