Serial Grand Slam Loser To Australian Open Semifinalist: 10 Facts About Danielle Collins - UBITENNIS
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Serial Grand Slam Loser To Australian Open Semifinalist: 10 Facts About Danielle Collins

Everything you need to know about the surprise Australian Open semi-finalist.

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The women’s draw at the Australian Open has been stunned by the rapid rise of 25-year-old Danielle Collins at Melbourne Park.

 

Prior to Melbourne, the American had never won a grand slam main draw match, never defeated a top five player and had never broken into the world’s top 30. Now, nine days into the tournament, Collins has achieved all of those milestones. Her run to the semi-finals has featured shock wins over Julia Goerges and Caroline Garcia. Then in the fourth round she crushed former champion Angelique Kerber 6-2, 6-0, before taming Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in three sets.

Now set to play in the semi-finals of the Australian Open, which is only the third tournament she had ever played in the country, here are 10 things you need to know about the underdog.

  1. Was a star player on the college circuit – Collins claimed two NCAA titles whilst at the University of Virginia. Becoming only the seventh player in history to do so. She graduated in 2016 with a degree in media studies. Collins is the first collegiate grand slam quarter-finalist since Lisa Raymond at the 2004 Australian Open.
  2. Made her main draw debut at the 2014 US Open: The American took a set off Simona Halep at her home grand slam before losing in the first round.
  3. Created history in Miami – at the 2018 Miami Open Collins became the first qualifier to ever reach the semifinals of the tournament. Scoring her first ever top 10 win over Venus Williams. The run earned her $327,965, which was more than double her career earnings at the time.
  4. 2019 is only her third season as a professional: She began her professional career at the 2017 BNP Paribas Open and ended the season at 167th in the world. The following year, she claimed 17 wins on the tour and finished more than 100 places higher at 36th.
  5. Against top 20 opposition: Collins now has a win-loss record of 6-9 against top 20 opponents. She has also scored wins over Madison Keys and Coco Vandeweghe. The players she has defeated are the following :-
    -No.14 Keys (2018 Indian Wells)
    -No.16 Vandeweghe (2018 Miami)
    -No.8 V.Williams (2018 Miami)
    -No.2 Kerber (2019 Australian Open)
    -No.19 Garcia (2019 Australian Open)
    -No.14 Goerges (2019 Australian Open)
  6. Prize Money milestone: As a result of her run, she will surpass the $1 million mark in career prize money following the conclusion of the Australian Open.
  7. Coach: Collins was introduced to tennis at the age of three. She is coached by Mat Cloer. A former college All-American and assistant coach. He has previously worked with Mackenzie McDonald.
  8. Fed Cup: She was nominated to play in the 2018 Fed Cup final in what would have been her first taste of the team competition. However, her doubles match wasn’t played after America lost three matches in a row to the Czech Republic.
  9. Wrist surgery: In 2014 Collins had a operation on her wrist to remove a bone fragment that was causing her discomfort whilst playing.
  10. Idols: Venus Williams is one of her idols. Following her won over the former world No.1 in Miami last year, Collins said she nearly cried the first time she saw Venus in person.

    “The first time I saw Venus in the locker room, I nearly cried. “I mean, I’ve idolised her my whole life. She’s been my favourite player for forever. This is such a special moment, I’m just trying to wrap my head around it.”

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Svetlana Kuznetsova completes her come-back by reaching the semifinal in Cincinnati

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Two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova came back from one set down to beat Karolina Pliskova 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 to secure her spot in the semifinal of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.

 

Kuznetsova, who was sidelined by a knee injury in the first half of the season, bounced back last week when she reached the third round at the Rogers Cup in Toronto. She beat Anastasija Sevastova, Dayana Yastremska and Sloane Stephens en route to the semifinal.

Kuznetsova hit 30 winners and broke three times to close out the match after 2 hours and 23 minutes.

Pliskova converted her only break point at love in the second game to win the opening set 6-3.

Pliskova saved three break points to hold serve at deuce in the fourth game before breaking serve at 15 to take a 4-3 lead. Kuznetsova broke back at 15 in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5. Kuznetsova earned four set points and converted her first chance to seal the tie-break 7-2.

Kuznetsova went up a break at love in the third game of the decisive set to take a 2-1 lead. Both Pliskova and Kuznetsova saved two break points in the fifth and sixth games. Kuznetsova sealed the win with a double break in the ninth game.

The Russian player set up a semifinal against 2019 Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty, who came back from one set down to beat Maria Sakkari 5-7 6-2 6-0.

 

 

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Madison Keys Finally Finds Her Footing After Tough Few Weeks

Can the former top 10 player return to peak form in time for the US Open?

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Madison Keys (@VolvoCarOpen on Twitter)

Entering into this week’s Western and Southern Open a single win would have been a much needed boost for Madison Keys ahead of the final grand slam of the season.

 

Keys, a former grand slam finalist herself, has been unable to shine on the women’s tour since reaching the quarter-finals of the French Open. In her past three tournaments, she has won one out of four matches played. To make it worse, two out of those three losses were to player’s ranked outside the top 100.

Fortunately for Keys her lull on the tour has ended this week in Cincinnati. An event where she made her debut back in 2012 at the age of 17. In the first round she saw off former world No.1 Garbine Muguruza in three sets before brushing aside Daria Kasatkina. However, her most impressive victory took place on Thursday. Taking on Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, Keys held her nerve to prevail 6-1, 3-6, 7-5, after just over two hours of play. Her first win over a top five player since Angelique Kerber at the same tournament 12 months ago.

“She’s been No. 1 for a reason, won Grand Slams for a reason. I knew that she wasn’t just going to, you know, ever give up or give in. I knew the entire time I had to fully win the match before, you know, I could actually take a deep breath.” Keys said following her latest win.
“I think I just kind of trusted myself a little bit, and I didn’t really hold back on any of my shots. I think I made a couple of bad misses, but at the same time I think I did a lot of really good things.”

The triumphs come as Keys and her rivals tune up their game ahead of the US Open. Where the 24-year-old will be defending a wealth of points after reaching the semi-finals there last year. Flushing Meadows is a place of fond memories for former finalist Keys and statistically her most successful grand slam. Winning 19 out of 26 matches played in New York so far in her career.

“It feels a little bit better, a little less stressed. Ask me again in a week and I will be just as stressed.” She commented about her preparation for the upcoming major.
“In order to find that level right before a slam, obviously feels good, but especially after having some tough weeks, being able to kind of put it all together makes me feel a little bit better going into the US Open.”

Growing in confidence once again, Keys takes on tour veteran Venus Williams next. Their head-to-head is currently tied at 2-2, however, they haven’t played each other since 2016. A win would move the American into her first tour semi-final since April when she won the Volvo Open in Charleston.

“But again, she’s obviously playing some really good tennis in order to beat Kiki and then Vekic and all that. I’m going to have to see what she’s been doing well.” Keys previewed about her clash with Williams.

The quarter-final clash between the two will take place on Friday evening not before 19:00 local time. Keys is one of four seeded players remaining in the draw.

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Madison Keys battles past Simona Halep to reach the quarter final in Cincinnati

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Madison Keys beat this year’s Wimbledon champion Simona Halep 6-1 3-6 7-5 to advance to the quarter final at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati for the second consecutive year.

 

Madison Keys stopped a five-match losing streak against Simona Halep after a thrilling three-set match scoring her first win over the Romanian player in five years.

After beating Halep in their first head-to-head match in 2014, Keys lost five consecutive matches against her Romanian rival, including four in 2016. They met for the first time since the 2016 WTA Finals, where Halep beat Keys 6-2 6-4 in a round-robin match.

Keys never faced a break point and dropped just eight points in four service games and reeled off nine of the eleven points on Halep’s first serve to cruise through to a 6-1 win in 20 minutes.

In the second set Halep dropped her serve twice, but she converted three of the ten break points. The Romanian player held her serve at love for the first time in the match to win the second set sending the match to the third set.

Keys went up a 3-0 lead in the decider and earned four break points for 4-0. Halep converted her fifth break points at deuce and held serve at love to draw level to 3-3. Keys did not convert a match point at 5-4, but she sealed the win by breaking serve with a forehand winner in the 12th game at deuce to the delight of the home crowd.

“I think I played really smart tonight. Obviously I played a really good first set, and I don’t think she played her best tennis in the first set. I think the third set we played a pretty high level of tennis. I think it was the first time that I played a little bit more within myself and didn’t try to do too much too soon. She has been number 1 for a reason, won Grand Slams for a reason. I knew that she wasn’t just going to give up or give in. I knew the entire time I had to fully win the match before I could take a deep breath. I am really happy after losing my lead in the third set, I was able to get back. It definitely reminds me that when I am in the right mindset and playing some good tennis, I can compete with anyone”, said Keys.

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