Makarova claims all-Russian clash against Pavlyuchenkova.

Ekaterina Makarova knocked out No.6 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in an all-Russian battle to advance into the second round at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy.

January 31, 2018

Makarova needed just one hour and 22 minutes to seal the 6-4, 6-4 victory and bring up a second-round clash against Katerina Siniakova.

“It was definitely a tough one, to play at home against another Russian was very tough,” Makarova said afterwards. “She’s in really good shape now, and we’ve always had very tough matches between us.

“I’m so happy that I got through some of those tough moments, some nerves. It’s still the first match and we’re still in the beginning of the season so I’m just very happy to be through.”

The unseeded Russian came into their matchup at the Sibur Arena trailing 6-3 in their head-to-head record, but bolstered by having won two of their last four matches.

Makarova opened with an early break to the Pavlyuchenkova serve – the No.6 seed struggled with her serve from the start, and as a result Makarova had plenty of looks at her opponent’s weaker second delivery. Makarova created eleven break opportunities across the two sets, converting four times – twice in each set.

Though Pavlyuchenkova managed to grab the break back in each set and bring them back level at 4-4 both times, she couldn’t stop Makarova from pressing ahead once more. Makarova finished off the match by reeling off three games in a row to close our the win in just under an hour and a half.

With Makarova’s victory knocking out Pavlyuchenkova, that brings down the tournament-leading number of Russian players from seven to four, with Daria Kasatkina, Anastasia Potapova and Elena Rybakina also left standing.

“In some ways it’s easier for me to play here in St. Petersburg because I’m still away from my hometown which is Moscow,” Makarova admitted.

“I feel like a tourist here almost – I needed a map to find the restaurant yesterday. It’s nice to speak Russian and ask for directions on the street.

“I do feel comfortable here (in Russia), but feeling like an outsider (in St. Petersburg) is actually better for me on court.”

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