Top seed Serena Williams is in action on Tuesday evening at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, where she will meet Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova for the fourth time on the professional tour. Williams leads the head-to-head series 2-1, with their last encounter taking place back in 2012.
Following a surprising fourth round exit from the Australian Open last month, Williams consequently withdrew from the Qatar Total Open 2014 citing a back injury, which had plagued her since the loss. She ultimately decided to take a last minute wildcard entry to the event, where she will also be pairing with her Sister Venus in doubles competition.
Williams, who made the semifinals in her two attempts, in 2005 and 2009, is yet to lift the trophy in Dubai. It is one of the few big WTA titles that the American had failed to capture and she will be looking to change that this year. The draw features seven of the Top 10 competitors on the WTA tour, as well as her recent vanquisher Ana Ivanovic.
World No. 24 Ekaterinka Makarova reached the fourth round of the Australian Open, losing in the fourth round to eventual champion Li Na. She followed that up with a victory in Pattaya City, where she defeated Karolina Pliskova to lift the trophy. Having missed the Qatar Total Open 2014, this marks Makarova’s first tournament in February.
Williams leads the head-to-head series 2-1, with a victory in their most recent encounter at the 2012 US Open. Makarova’s sole win came that same year at the Australian Open, where she defeated Williams in the fourth round in straight sets. While Makarova is a formidable opponent for most on the tour, the American should manage a straight sets victory barring any injuires during the match.
For more stats, click here: Serena Williams v Makarova H2H and stats
Prediction: Serena Williams in Straight Sets