“IT FEELS AMAZING": COLLINS CRUISES THROUGH TO THE AO FINAL


Photograph: Getty Images


American Danielle Collins is through to her first final at a major after storming past seventh seed Iga Swiatek at the Australian Open.


Collins put on a scintillating display from start to finish to overpower the young Pole 6-4, 6-1 in an hour and 18 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.


“It feels amazing, it’s been such a journey and it doesn’t happen overnight,” Collins said on court following the win.


“I had so many years of hard work and hours on the court from a young age. It’s just incredible on this stage and especially with all the challenges and I'm just so grateful, I couldn’t be happier."


Collins had a much better night than her previous semifinal appearance at Melbourne Park in 2019. Back then, the American was competitive early before being handed a bagel in the second set by eventual winner Petra Kvitova.


With a few more years of experience under her belt, Collins wasn’t going to let that happen again - despite being pitted against the 2020 Roland Garros champion.


The American controlled the match from the get-go and didn’t let Swiatek play her game. Collins was able to keep the rallies short, winning 51 points compared to 25 from Swiatek when the rally length was between 0-4 shots.


“Yeah, I certainly added a bit more variety to my game over the last couple of years but this is my ‘Plan A’ and I wanted to go out and try and execute this gameplan as best as I could," Collins said.


“It was working really well today so I just had to stick with it.”


Swiatek likes to extend the rallies but she wasn’t afforded the opportunity on Thursday night.


In her previous match against Kaia Kanepi, the Pole won 27/32 points when the rally length was over nine shots. Against Collins, Swiatek won 6/8 points for rallies of nine shots or more - a sign that she wasn’t able to play her game.


As for Collins, she used her power to dictate the game and end the rallies quickly. The American was able to hit 27 winners for the match while keeping her unforced errors to the low tally of 13.


The job gets much harder for Collins in the final as she’s coming up against a red-hot Ash Barty who is yet to drop a set the whole tournament. However, the American has had some relative success against Barty despite the Aussie leading 3-1 in their H2H.


Collins won their most recent encounter in straight sets at the Adelaide 500 in 2021 and took a set off the dual major winner on two other occasions.


Collins and Barty are due to collide on Saturday night at Rod Laver Arena.