Collins shocks Barty and meets Swiatek next

Defending champion Ash Barty suffered a shock defeat in her opening match of the Adelaide International when she was sent packing by Danielle Collins in her 2nd upset loss in 7 days, just a week after losing in the Australian Open quarter-finals.

Collins has been on song for much of her stay Down Under, but beating a reigning World No 1 is a first for the American’s career.

“I think I was really familiar with her game after losing to her three times,” said Collins afterwards. “So I certainly got some great tennis lessons out of that, and have learned from it.”

The American came from behind in both sets to score an impressive 6-3 6-4 win on Wednesday night over the top seed, whose home turf campaign is now over.

It was a rematch of last year’s semi-final, which Barty won in 3 sets, but on this occasion it was the World No 37 who emerged the victor and stunned the crowd at Memorial Drive Tennis Centre.

Both players had spells in which they dominated play and Barty began with her serve clicking, with 7 of her first 8 deliveries unreturned as she built a 3-1 lead, but Collins came roaring back to reel off 5 consecutive games and take the opening set in 31 minutes.

“I think my overall physical fitness and strength has gotten a lot better, and that gives me more confidence when I go into long points and I’m being a little bit more patient within the rallies,” Collins said.

“My serve has improved a bit as well – I’m starting to get a few more free points here and there on my serve. That was something that I really worked on a lot during the off-season.

“I’ve had some days where it hasn’t been as great, but I just try to get back to it and what I’ve been working on.

“I think those are probably the three biggest areas that I’ve improved the most.”

The 27-year-old American fired 11 winners to Barty’s 5 and was performing better on serve, landing 75 per cent of first serves compared to the Australian’s 46 per cent.


Defending champion Ash Barty failed to get her campaign under way by losing to Danielle Collins in her opening match

© Mark Brake/Getty Images

A composed Barty wrested back control early in the second, breaking Collins’ serve to love in the 4th game to lead 4-1, and seemingly back on track but, again, the World No 1 struggled to build on her early advantage and, again, Collins won the final 5 games of the match to seal victory in 65 minutes.

Barty was unable to sustain her serving level through to the end of either stanza, beckoning her opponent back into the contest with a trio of double-faults.

Collins was able to rein in her power sufficiently to emerge with a ratio of 20 winners to 15 unforced errors.

Raking the ball from side to side and landing her returns deep at Barty’s feet, she was in full flow as she flipped momentum, and having lost 11 out of 12 points to fall behind 1-4 in the second set, Collins managed to reel 20 of the next 23 to accelerate over the finishing line.

After losing to Barty in all 3 of their previous meetings, this result puts Collins into her 2nd quarter-final and extends her record in 2021 to 9-3 following a quarter-final at the Yarra Valley Classic and a semi-final last week at the Phillip Island Trophy.

“Danielle was able to control the centre of the court, control the baseline and hold court position – and on a really quick court that’s vital,” Barty said after the match. “She was able to get first strike in on most occasions and particularly when she’s seeing so many second serves.

“It’s not always going to go your way, you can’t win every single tennis match, but you can sure as hell approach it the right way.

“And I think for my team and for me, we did that this week. We just didn’t quite get that result that went our way.”


Iga Swiatek stopped Aussie qualifier Maddison Inglis' run in Adelaide in straight sets

© Sarah Reed/Getty Images

Collins now faces No 5 seed Iga Swiatek in the quarters, who was superb in almost every area in dispatching Aussie qualifier Maddison Inglis, 6-1 6-3.

In just her third tournament since winning Roland Garros last October, Swiatek continues to impress with her maturity and confidence.

Inglis, who is ranked 136th in the world, made it into the main draw after winning 2 qualifying rounds and this was the 1st meeting between the pair.

Swiatek took the opener easily against the World No 136 in just over half an hour and while the second went on a bit longer, and up until 3-3 was tightly contested, once Swiatek secured a breakpoint, consolidated by holding her own service game and breaking again, it was all over.

The Pole slammed 26 winners and blended power and finesse throughout to return to the last 8 of a tournament for the first time since her Roland Garros title last October.

Swiatek’s first serve percentage was the only area of concern, not that it proved a significant obstacle.

Despite landing only 46% of her first deliveries, the 19-year-old only faced break points in 1 game, as she attempted to serve out the 1st set, and saved both with un-returnable serves.

After Swiatek lost in 3 sets to then-World No 2 Simona Halep in the 4th round of the Australian Open in Melbourne last week, the 19-year-old decided to change her routine and not fly home to Warsaw, opting to stay Down Under instead.

“I’m really excited,” Swiatek said during Monday’s Media Day for the Adelaide International. “And actually, that’s the first time after a Grand Slam that I’m not like exhausted, so I’m looking forward to my first match.”

She can now look forward to her third in Adelaide, against Collins.


Maddison Inglis was over-powered in the first set but made more of a match of it in the second against Iga Swiatek

© Mark Brake/Getty Images


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