If you follow collegiate tennis closely, it’s no surprise that 24-year-old American Danielle Collins is having success on the WTA tour. Collins was a star player at University of Virginia and won two NCAA singles titles in 2014 and 2016, granting her main draw wildcards at the US Open. What’s surprising is that her run these past few weeks has come seemingly out of nowhere.
Collins showed signs that a breakthrough was coming after she won the Newport Beach $125K ITF event in late January. Her title run there, and a quarterfinals appearance at the $125K ITF in Indian Wells, clinched her spot at the main event in Indian Wells as part of the Oracle Challenger Series–which awards wildcards to the American men and women who performed the best at those events.
Collins certainly made the most of the wildcard, recording her first WTA tour level main draw win by defeating Taylor Townsend in three sets. She followed that up with wins over 14th-ranked Madison Keys and Sofya Zhuk, who she beat to win the Newport Beach ITF as well. Collins fell to veteran Carla Suarez Navarro in the Round of 16.
Like Sachia Vickery, Danielle Collins would’ve been a worthy recipient to receive a wildcard to the Miami Open after her Indian Wells run. Collins was snubbed as well and was forced to play qualifying. Now, one week later Collins has won six consecutive matches and finds herself in the quarterfinals.
After defeating Irina-Camelia Begu comfortably in the first round, Collins has defeated Coco Vandeweghe, Donna Vekic, and hometown favorite Monica Puig all in three sets. Her quarterfinal opponent? None other than living legend Venus Williams.
So far Collins hasn’t let the moment get to her. Playing against someone like 2001 Miami Open champion Venus Williams, who has plenty of big match experience (to say the least), might be too much too soon for Collins, but she’s shown she’s capable of pulling off an upset or two as of late.
Regardless of the result, Collins finds herself at a career-high #65 on the live rankings with a chance to get near the top 50 with a win. Entering the Miami Open, Collins was ranked #93, so it’ll be interesting to see how she progresses throughout the 2018 season after the best month of her professional career.
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