Danielle Collins made it to the last four of the Australian Open on Wednesday to match her 2019 performance and shatter French veteran Alize Cornet’s dream of reaching a first Grand Slam semifinal. The US 27th seed came through an intense clash 7-5, 6-1 in blistering temperatures at Rod Laver Arena to continue her resurgence after last year’s surgery.
She will compete against the Polish seventh seed Iga Swiatek or the Estonian veteran Kaia Kanepi for a place in the final.
The defeat was bittersweet for the unseeded Cornet, who reached her first-ever Grand Slam quarterfinal after 17 years of trying, but was unable to take it one step further.
“It feels incredible, especially after some of the health challenges I’ve had,” said Collins, 28.
“To be able to come back to this level and compete like I’ve done and be as physical as I am has been so rewarding.
“Especially against the girls I’ve played against in recent games, really good competitors, really great athletes.”
A great college player who didn’t turn professional until age 22, Collins has been in great shape since surgery to treat endometriosis in April last year when she ripped her abdomen at Roland Garros.
She returned to win her first WTA titles in San Jose and Palermo and has now matched her 2019 run at Melbourne Park, the only other time she has reached a semi-final of the Slam.
With temperatures reaching 34 degrees Celsius (93 Fahrenheit), both players held their opening serve as they made each other bigger in a first meeting of a pair known for their intensity on the field.
They searched for openings and the first breakpoint came on Cornet’s serve after Collins played a beautiful passing shot.
The Frenchman saved it and two more when the American pushed hard and she was rewarded with a backhand volley to give the lead 3-1.
Cornet clung on, but Collins gave her few chances, until game 10 when nerves kicked in as she served for the set.
She scored a backhand that allowed Cornet to break back for 4-5, but the American kept her calm and earned three set points at 6-5. Cornet saved two, but then hit a looping forehand.
Collins kept up the pressure in set two and after holding the serve, he broke 2-0 clear with a blistering forehand.
Cornet was demoralized and her head went down, broken again to trail 4-0 and there was no turning back.
Collins has never ranked higher than 23rd in the world since her debut in 2011, but she could make it to the top 10 if she reaches the Melbourne final.
(This story was not edited by DailyExpertNews staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)
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