Ekaterina Makarova has an excellent record at the AEGON International. In 2008 and 2009, she had to go through qualifying, but she has reached the quarterfinals. This year, she had to qualify again, and now she has reached the final.
If Makarova isn't a player fans expected to see in this year's final, neither is her opponent. Victoria Azarenka is, of course, a very fine player, but she has had to withdraw and retire so much lately because of knee and thigh injuries, it seemed improbable that she would wind up in the AEGON International final.
To get to the final, Azarenka defeated 4th seed Agnieszka Radwanska, qualifier Heather Watson, 5th seed Kim Clijsters, and 8th seed Marion Bartoli. Makarova defeated 6th seed Flavia Pennetta, Nadia Petrova, wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova, and 3rd seed Sam Stosur.
This tournament featured an especially difficult draw, so both women had to knock out really good players to get to the final.