Miami | Qualifier Collins continues to surprise
The semi-final line-up for the women’s draw at the 2018 Miami Open has been completed and features a qualifier who has battled her way through the bottom quarter taking full advantage of the field opening up when the second seeded Caroline Wozniacki was eliminated.
I’m just starting to finally put all of the pieces togetherDanielle Collins
Danielle Collins, who required three sets in to secure her last three wins, surprised her idol Venus Williams by taking her down 6-2 6-3 and become the first qualifier at Key Biscayne to reach the last four.
It turned out to be a comfortable win with Collins gaining the upper hand in both sets with early breaks.
“I’m just starting to finally put all of the pieces together,” said Collins, 24, currently ranked 93 but can expect to rise around 60 places following her run in Miami, and more than double her career earnings with a guarantee of $327,965 awaiting her by just making the last four.
She will face the French Open champion, Jelena Ostapenko for a place in the final round, the Latvian having been fully tested by Elia Svitolina before emerging the 7-6(3) 7-6(5) winner.
Ostapenko hit 42 unforced errors in an effort to blow Svitolina off the court but offset that with an impressive 44 winners.
“I knew I had to be aggressive and when I got the chance I really went for it,” Ostapenko said. “I came here with no expectations, whether it’s the first or final I give it everything and do my best.
“I was rushing too much in the tie-breaks. I had to play smarter, but my aggression helped.
“The wind wasn’t too bad, but I am trying to be more consistent. I am not afraid to miss the ball and that helped me win the match.”
Having not had the best of seasons so far, the run in Key Biscayne has lifted Ostapenko’s spirits as she starts to turn her attention to the defence of her Roland Garros title.
“Defending my title is going to be very special and I am looking forward to going back to Paris,” she added.
“The best thing after such a big win like that is how people treat you after you win and that at some tournaments, you get a bye so it makes things easier.
“That can be a negative though, because if you go out early, you don’t play many games. I am top-10 player now so everyone wants to beat me.”
For Svitolina, already the holder of two titles this year, the result was disappointing.
“I was hurting a little bit, but it was on and off all the time,” the Ukrainian said. “She played a great match. She was much, much better than me if you look at the game.
“Definitely though I’m pleased with the performance I have been showing throughout the hardcourt season.
“I won a couple of titles, the big ones, defending Dubai and then winning in Brisbane so that shows I can play in high level and be consistent.”