Danielle Collin’s career breakthrough run continues with a brilliant comeback win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, winning 2-6 7-5 6-1.
Pavlyuchenkova got off to the perfect start, breaking her opponent in the first game. The Russian then saved five break points in a thirty-point game to lead 2-0, before breaking once again. It was the American’s turn to break, finally getting a game on the scoreboard thanks to a double fault. Rather predictably, Pavlyuchenkova broke once again, meaning that four out of first five games resulted in a break. She dominated Collins’ serve up to this point by winning six out of seven points on the American’s second serve, which was clearly frustrating her opponent. The World #35’s Grand Slam inexperience was showing, as she was unable to respond to many of her opponent’s big shots. Finally, Collins managed to hold her serve before Pavlyuchenkova nervously closed out the set to win it 6-2.
The American, who had never won a Grand Slam match before this tournament, came close to breaking Pavlyuchenkova in the second game, but offered up too many cheap points. Serving down 2-1, Pavlyuchenkova was in a comfortable position but let it go due to wrong shot decisions and double faults. Collins then finally consolidated a break to lead 4-1, and the Russian had lost her concentration and looked unsettled. She hit some big backhands to try to force a break back, but Collins’ serve held up to lead 5-2. When it came to serving out the set, the situation got the better of the American. She surrendered the break with some errors and a double fault, which let Pavlyuchenkova back into the match. The World #42 almost forced a tiebreaker, but Collins finally managed to steal the set on her third set point.
The match turned around very quickly, with Collins taking the momentum forward to lead 3-0. Pavlyuchenkova tried her hardest to make her way back into the match, but she just hit too many wild errors. Collins played perfectly and achieved a double break over the struggling Russian. In no time at all, Pavlyuchenkova lost all her fight as the set raced by and Collins cruised through to win in the third set 6-1.
Collins will face Petra Kvitova in the semifinals on Thursday. Kvitova, who is finally returning to her best form after being injured in a home invasion two years ago, is a two-time Major champion (Wimbledon 2011 and 2014). Kvitova also reached the semifinals here in Melbourne back in 2012. Winning another match might be a tough ask for Collins, but she has shown this tournament that she is capable of doing anything. Don’t underestimate her.
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