| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff
Photo courtesy of USTA/Pete Staples

 

Entering the Australian Open last week, American Danielle Collins had never won a main draw match at a Grand Slam.

Now the 25-year-old finds herself in the final four at a Grand Slam after fighting back to beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 on Tuesday and securing her spot in the Australian Open semifinals.

“This has all been a really incredible experience,” said Collins. “This time last year I was playing a challenger in Newport Beach. I think I’m really embracing it.”

In a matchup between two big-hitters, both players came out firing in their quarterfinal matchup. And despite having multiple break point chances early on, Collins was unable to secure them, and saw the Russian take the first set.

But late in the second set, Collins secured a key break to take the set 7-5 and force a deciding third set. And in that final set, Collins was ruthless. She ripped 13 winners and committed just one unforced error as she advanced to the final four Down Under.

“I think I’ve gained more experience in the last year, which is great,” said Collins. “I don’t think much has really changed. I think I’m just getting a little bit different outcome. That’s based off of the hard work that’s been put in the past, just having faith in what I’m doing.”

Collins moves on to play eighth-seed Petra Kvitova for a spot in the championship match. Kvitova ended the run of Australia’s Ashleigh Barty with a 6-1, 6-4 triumph on Tuesday night.

“I served well, I took the first break and I think from that time I was up, in the second she came back, and she didn’t give me anything for free. I really had to fight until the end,” said Kvitova. “ Ash has great slice from the backhand, chipping round and mixing up, so I knew I had to be very, very low and hit it as I could to not really give her a chance to play her game.”