The reigning French Open champion and a surprise American qualifier completed the Miami Open semifinals on Wednesday.
American qualifier Danielle Collins shocked her Florida idol growing up, Venus Williams, defeating the No. 8 seed 6-2, 6-3 on Wednesday night in quarterfinal play.
“I obviously have an incredible amount of respect for Venus, but you kind of have to take the name out of it and just focus on the tennis part and play one point at a time and use your tactics that you come up with your coaches,” Collins told the media. “That’s exactly what I did.”
The two-time NCAA singles champion out of the University of Virginia is the first qualifier in the history of the Miami Open to reach the semifinals after entering the event at No. 93 on the WTA rankings.
“I have put in the hard work my whole life, so at the end of the day, I know I have done literally everything I can do to put myself in the best situation,” said Collins. “And if I win the match, I win the match and it’s awesome. If I lose the match, I lose the match knowing that I did everything in my power to put myself in the best situation.”
It was her seventh win in a row after two victories in the qualifying rounds. She hit two more winners than Williams and dominated return of serve off the former No. 1, who at times looked winded during the match.
“I don’t think it was my best night of tennis, but, I mean, there wasn’t a shot she couldn’t make,” Williams said. “So that was just, you know, of course one of those days.”
In the semifinals Collins will meet No. 6 seed Jelena Ostapenko, who upset No. 4 seed Elina Svitolina 7-6(3), 7-6(5).
The reigning French Open champion hit 44 winners to 42 unforced errors in an forceful display.
“Before the match I knew that I have to be very aggressive,” Ostapenko said afterwards. “And when I had a chance, I was going for it. Of course I was missing some because I was trying to play aggressive the whole match, but I think my winners are more than the unforced errors.”
Svitolina said she was dealing with a mystery physical issue that turned mental.
“I was hurting a little bit today, but it was on and off all the time,” Svitolina said afterwards. “Mentally I was a little bit on and off, as well, and didn’t really focus on the right moments and the right things, and, you know, the small things, because she’s such a great player. She doesn’t miss those opportunities.”
Thursday’s semifinals EST will feature Victoria Azarenka vs. Sloane Stephens at 1 p.m., and Ostapenko vs. Collins at 9 p.m.
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