Angelique Kerber vs Ekaterina Makarova WTA Cincinnati tennis preview, predictions and tips: Last year's runner-up Kerber on upset alert against in-form Makarova

Andrew Hendrie in WTA 16 Aug 2017
  • Angelique Kerber vs Ekaterina Makarova is live from Cincinnati at 2.00pm local time on Wednesday (7.00pm BST)
  • Kerber lead head-to-head 7-5, but Makarova won their last clash at the French Open earlier this season
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Cincinnati at bet365 > sports > live streaming tennis
Angelique Kerber (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Two-time Western & Southern Open runner-up Angelique Kerber begins her Cincinnati campaign on Wednesday against the woman who knocked her out of the French Open - Washington champion Ekaterina Makarova.

Watch and bet on Kerber vs Makarova live from Cincinnati at bet365 > sports > live streaming tennis. Their second round clash begins at 2.00pm local time on Wednesday (7.00pm BST).



Angelique Kerber looks for revenge and a winning start in Cincinnati on Wednesday as she launches her Western & Southern Open title quest against the dangerous and in-form Ekaterina Makarova. It’s an extremely tough draw for Kerber, who is already down on confidence after an underwhelming and lacklustre 2017 season has seen her relinquish the No. 1 ranking and fail to make a significant impact in the big events. Makarova, who captured her third career title in Washington D.C. at the start of the US Open Series, beat Kerber in the opening round of Roland Garros - can she do it again in Cincinnati? Kerber and Makarova take to court at 2.00pm local time on Wednesday (7.00pm BST).

Kerber comes into the Western & Southern Open following a disappointing first eight months of the season, but the two-time grand slam champion is capable of some excellent tennis on the slow North American hardcourts, as illustrated through her capturing the US Open title last year - the result that elevated her to No. 1 in the world - and two previous runner-up finishes in Cincinnati, including last year to Karolina Pliskova (beating Simona Halep along the way) and in 2012, where Kerber defeated Serena Williams and Petra Kvitova in the quarters and semis respectively before falling in three sets to Li Na.

However, Kerber’s US Open Series didn’t get off to a flattering start, with the 29-year-old suffering a crushing 6-2 6-2 loss to Sloane Stephens in the R16 of the Rogers Cup in Toronto last week. The result is a continuation of Kerber’s worrying struggles in 2017 - last year’s Australian Open and US Open champion hasn’t won a single title and hasn’t been beyond the R16 at any of the slams, while her only semi-finals of the season have come at the International event in Monterrey and the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.


Kerber obviously didn’t cope well with the added spotlight, pressure and expectation that comes with being a grand slam champion and World No. 1, but she didn’t exactly look like a player with the pressure valve released in Toronto as she succumbed meekly to Stephens in her first match since losing the No. 1 ranking at Wimbledon. Can Kerber generate any kind of revival for the remainder of the season, or is this year set to transform into a complete write-off as far as titles go? She faces a huge challenge to even get off the mark in Cincinnati on Wednesday.

Ekaterina Makarova (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Ekaterina Makarova is currently playing her best tennis of the season - yes, even better than when she thumped Kerber 6-2 6-2 in the opening round of the French Open, a result she couldn’t back up as she promptly lost by the same scoreline to Lesia Tsurenko in the next round.

Recently revealing she’s linked up with Nigel Sears - the former coach of Daniela Hantuchova and Ana Ivanovic - Makarova has enjoyed an outstanding US Open Series so far, collecting her third WTA title in Washington D.C., recovering from a set-and-a-break down in the final to beat Julia Goerges, while she played pretty well at the Rogers Cup in Toronto after a quick turnaround, beating Peng Shuai and World No. 7 Johanna Konta before going down to Lucie Safarova in three sets in the R16.

Similarly to Kerber, Makarova has enjoyed a lot of success on the North American hardcourts, making her first grand slam semi-final at the US Open in 2014, defeating Eugenie Bouchard and Victoria Azarenka, while she also made the semi-finals of the Rogers Cup in the same season, beating Petra Kvitova along the way. It’s true that this hasn’t been the best year for Makarova, but she’s easily playing like a top 20 player since arriving in North America, and she claimed a first win in Cincinnati since 2014 on Tuesday with a routine 6-4 6-1 victory over Barbora Strycova.

This will be the 13th match they’ve played on tour, with Kerber currently leading 7-5, including winning their 2014 clash in Cincinnati, although Makarova did crush her at Roland Garros earlier this season. In current form, I don’t think there can be any argument that Kerber is playing better tennis than Makarova at the moment. If Makarova plays like she has been doing for the last few weeks, it’s looking like it could be another early exit for last year’s Cincinnati runner-up.


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Angelique Kerber vs Ekaterina Makarova WTA Cincinnati tennis preview, predictions and tips: Last year's runner-up Kerber on upset alert against in-form Makarova

Two-time Western & Southern Open runner-up Angelique Kerber begins her Cincinnati campaign on Wednesday against the woman who knocked her out of the French Open - Washington champion Ekaterina Makarova.

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