Austin | Collins advances to Last 8 but Stephens bucked in Texas

Danielle Collins found her way past wild-card Katie Volynets into the quarter-finals of the ATX Open on a chilly Thursday in Austin, Texas, but 2nd-seeded Sloane Stephens fell to Anastasjia Sevastova, while Wang Xiyu, the No 8 seed, and Anna Karolina Schmiedlova also advanced to the Last 8.

I knew today, when I woke up, it wasn’t going to be great, and I just had to try to do everything that I could. It wasn’t ideal, but the main thing is that I figured out a way to win. Danielle Collins

Collins, the 3rd-seeded American, rallied past Volynets, 4-6 7-6(3) 6-0, after 2 hours and 20 minutes, striking 39 winners and going 6-for-6 on break points in out-duelling her 22-year old compatriot.

Leading 5-4 in the second set, Volynets served for the match but Collins, the 2022 Australian Open runner-up, frustrated her, won the tiebreak and then dominated the final set.

“It was challenging,” Collins said, after a match where she had multiple visits from the trainer. “I’ve had arthritis for a bunch of years now, and that’s something that I have to work through.

“There’s days that go well and everything feels great, and then there’s days, like today, where I have to work around stuff, and that’s half the challenge.

“I knew today, when I woke up, it wasn’t going to be great, and I just had to try to do everything that I could. It wasn’t ideal, but the main thing is that I figured out a way to win.”

The former World No 7 managed to get past Volynets, ranked 112, gritting her way to a break and keeping the match alive.

Now ranked 48, Collins moved into high gear in the second-set breaker, in which she won the last 4 points in row to level the match.

After claiming the set by a narrow margin, Collins dominated the decider, powering her way to 3 straight breaks of the Volynet’s serve, then saving 2 break points in the final game before wrapping up the win with a forehand winner.

30-year old Collins is now into her second successive quarter-final and will face sixth-seeded Wang Xiyu of China, who sailed to a 6-1 6-2 victory over Darja Semenistaja from Lativa.

Left-handed Wang is seeking her second hard-court title in the past 6 months, the 22-year-old having won her maiden WTA singles title at Guangzhou in September of 2023.

Anastasija Sevastova upset 2nd-seeded Sloane Stephens to advance to a Last 8 meeting with Anna Karolina Schmiedlova

© Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

No 2 seed Sloane Stephens was upset by her frequent rival, Anastasija Sevastova, who is continuing her solid return to tour after maternity leave, and garnered a 6-3 6-2 win over the American in just 72 minutes of play.

Sevastova, a former No.11, is currently ranked 485, and converted half of her 10 break points on the day, and won 8 of the11 points off the Stephens second serve.

After maternity leave, Sevastova played 2 WTA 125 events at the end of last year, reaching the quarter-finals both times.

This year, she has played 2 WTA 250 events, and, again, the Latvian has made the quarter-finals on each occasion.

Sevastova now leads 3-2 in her record against Stephens, with 2 of their matches high-stakes encounters in US Open quarter-finals, the American winning their 2017 battle in a 3rd-set tiebreak en route to her Grand Slam title in 2017, the Latvian knocking out the defending champion out in the exact same round the very next year.

“With Sloane, we always have amazing matches,” Sevastova said afterwards. “Some of the most amazing matches in my career, and the most important matches in my career, I’ve played against Sloane.

“Today it was a bit different for both of us because it was so cold, and some delays — like, I don’t know, it’s not even rain, it’s a mist delay; never happened to me before. But I managed to move my feet, just stay warm, and put pressure on her.”

In their first match since that 2018 showdown, Sevastova and Stephens were deadlocked at 3-3 before going off court for a 45-minute rain delay, which was the second weather interruption of the night.

On their return, Sevastova took charge, winning the last 11 points of the first set, and the Latvian then cruised through the second, with one final unreturned forehand sealing her win.

Sevastova will play Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in the quarter-finals, with the Latvian holding a 4-0 head-to-head lead over the Slovakian.

Late on Thursday night, Schmiedlova won a marathon affair over Sachia Vickery, prevailing 5-7 7-6(5) 7-5, in 2 hours and 50 minutes, and avenging her loss to the American at last week’s WTA 125 event in Puerto Vallarta.

A 3-time title winner on the WTA Tour, Schmiedlova is through to her first quarter-final since Prague last summer, and is bidding to reach her first semi-final since Hobart in January 2019.

Wang Xiyu, the No 8 seed, was an easy winner over Darja Semenistaja on Thursday in Austin, and takes on Danielle Collins next

In the doubles, Britain’s Olivia Nicholls and her Australian partner, Olivia Gadecki, upset Kazakhstan’s Anna Danilina & Zhang Shuai from China, the No 2 seeds, 6-3 6-3, to reach the semi-finals on Thursday.

Gadecki & Nicholls had seen off Collins & Fernanda Contreras from Mexico, 6-4 6-3 in their opening round on Monday.

Two other Brits featured in the doubles, Maia Lumsden and Samantha Murray Sharan, but both lost with other partners in the 1st-round of the WTA 250 in Austin.



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