Makarova beats Azarenka to reach US Open semis

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Ekaterina Makarova, of Russia, reacts after defeating Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, in two sets during the quarterfinals of the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Ekaterina Makarova, of Russia, reacts after defeating Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, in two sets during the quarterfinals of the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Ekaterina Makarova, of Russia, reacts after defeating Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, in two sets during the quarterfinals of the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, wipes sweat from her brow between points against Ekaterina Makarova, of Russia, during the quarterfinals of the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, reacts after a shot against Ekaterina Makarova, of Russia, during the quarterfinals of the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

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NEW YORK (AP) — Ekaterina Makarova reached her first Grand Slam semifinal, beating Victoria Azarenka in straight sets Wednesday at the U.S. Open.

The 26-year-old Russian won 6-4, 6-2 after losing her previous four major quarterfinals.

“I’m feeling amazing,” she said. “Finally I’m in a semifinal.”

Azarenka’s manager said she had food poisoning Tuesday. Unusually subdued for most of the match, Azarenka smashed her racket after one of her 27 unforced errors gave Makarova a break and a 4-2 lead in the second set.

The players were 16th and 17th in the seedings but came in with very different resumes. Azarenka is a two-time Australian Open champion who lost to Serena Williams in the last two U.S. Open finals.

But her ranking slipped after a season interrupted by injuries. She often looked shaky against qualifier Aleksandra Krunic in the fourth round but eked out a three-set victory.

Makarova, meanwhile, upset Wimbledon runner-up Eugenie Bouchard in straight sets. On Wednesday, she took full advantage of Azarenka’s mistakes, the lefty’s deep groundstrokes keeping on pressure.

Makarova had lost to Lucie Safarova in straight sets in the Wimbledon quarterfinals this summer. She has yet to drop a set at Flushing Meadows.

Her semifinal opponent could be Williams. The two-time defending champ faces 11th-seeded Flavia Pennetta to open the night session at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray take the court after that for a rematch of the 2012 U.S. Open final. Stan Wawrinka meets Kei Nishikori in the other men’s quarterfinal Wednesday afternoon.

Associated Press

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