Following straightforward matches in their respective fourth round encounters, Simona Halep and Ekaterina Makarova will meet for the second time on the professional tour. The Romanian seed leads the head-to-head series 1-0, having won their lone meeting in New Haven two years ago.
Simona Halep eased into the quarter-final stage in Melbourne with a 6-4, 6-2 win against Yanina Wickmayer. The Romanian dropped serve twice in the match but managed to convert five of her own to earn the victory in 1 hour and 19 minutes. She also struck 23 winners and 5 aces en route to the final eight.
“I have (a lot of confidence) now because I didn’t lose a set,” Halep said following her win. “I had good matches here in first week, so I’m really happy that I’m in second week now like last year. Here I started to play my best tennis in Grand Slams. So means a lot for me. I really have more confidence now to play the quarterfinals.”
Ekaterina Makarova needed just 69 minutes to dispatch Germany’s Julia Goerges to reach the quarter-final stage of the Australian Open. The Russian struck 15 winners and won 85% of her first service points to close out the match 6-3, 6-2.
“We played once in New Haven I think not the last year, the year before,” Makarova said of her upcoming opponent. “I lost 6-1, 7-6, something like that. She’s one of the greatest player now, and I’m really looking forward. If she wins today, depends, yeah. I will want to forward and forward step by step.”
This marks just the second career meeting between Simona Halep and Ekaterina Makarova, the first of which took place two years ago in New Haven. Halep is yet to lose a set to Makarova and will look to maintain that streak en route to the final four in Melbourne.
“I have my chance,” said Halep. “I believe in my chance next round. So I have to make my game again to be aggressive and to serve well like today.”
Prediction: Simona Halep in Straight Sets