New York: If anything was going to help Victoria Azarenka pull out of her season-long slide, an upset-ridden U.S. Open seemed to present a golden opportunity, a respite from playing some of the game's more dangerous players.
But considering the state of Azarenka's game and her health, which was sidetracked by food poisoning Tuesday, it did not take one of those top players to shove her from the tournament. What it took was a solid effort from 17th-seeded Ekaterina Makarova in the quarterfinals to craft a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Azarenka, the No. 16 seed. That left Azarenka to contemplate how far she has fallen since reaching the U.S. Open final last year.
The flip side of Azarenka's disappointment was Makarova's glee over making her first Grand Slam semifinal. To get there, she bounced No. 7 Eugenie Bouchard in the fourth round, and now Azarenka, and all without dropping a set in the tournament.