Little-known American Danielle Collins kept her Cinderella run going at the Australian Open on Tuesday. Just 48 hours after destroying former champion Angelique Kerber, the feisty Floridian came from a set down to defeat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 and reach the Australian Open semifinals.
“This has all been a really incredible experience,” Collins said. “Obviously it’s my first time playing main draw here in Australia, so I think that’s a little bit new to me. This time last year I was playing a challenger in Newport Beach.
“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 in the past, just having faith in what I’m doing.”
Collins was flat in the first set but revved things up in the set. Pavlyuchenkova, who won the Australian Open junior title in 2006, pressed Collins for a tiebreaker, but after a long game Collins broke to level.
Fist pumps and come ons for everyone!
In all, Collins reeled off seven straight games to go up 5-0 in the third and then closed it out.
Collins entered the Australian Open having never won a match in a Grand Slam event before. And she had just two wins on the tour since the mid-summer. Now, she’s becomes the sixth unseeded woman to make the semifinals at the Australian Open in the last five years.
Pavlyuchenkova suffered her fifth loss without a win in a Grand Slam quarterfinal.
In the evening, Petra Kvitova put the clamps on Australian hope Ashliegh Barty, beating the 22-year-old 6-1, 6-4 to continue her torrid run. The Czech has now won her last 10 matches including two wins over crowd favorite Barty, the Sydney final and Tuesday night.
“She really played unbelievable tennis today, as well,” Kvitova said of Barty. “Her slice was two centimeters under the net. It was really incredible what she been through whole tournament. I’m a bit sorry for her that I beat her. But that’s the tennis, unfortunately.”
Kvitova is into her second Australian Open semifinal and first since her comeback from a home invasion at the end of 2016.
“I’m calling it as my second career,” Kvitova said. “So it’s the first semifinal of the second career. But, yeah, it’s took me while, for sure. I never really played so well on the Grand Slams, so I’m happy this time it’s different. I’m really enjoying it.”
Barty was trying to become the first Australian woman in the semifinals since Wendy Turnbull in 1984.
“Disappointed purely from having competed my whole life,” Barty said. “I’m driven to win every single match. Today Petra was outstanding, she really was. She took it away from me quite early in the match.
“At times it’s very much out of my control, what she does from her end of the court. In the beginning, she served particularly well. Even when I was hitting my spots on first serves, she was returning within a meter or two of the baseline, putting me on the back foot instantly.
“She was clean as a whistle tonight. I have to give all credit to her.”
On Wednesday, 7-time Australian Open champion Serena Williams returns to take on fellow former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova. Serena has won two of three against the Czech, but Pliskova did win at the 2016 US Open.
The day opened with US Open champion Naomi Osaka bidding for her first Australian Open semifinal against a player who has never made the semifinal of a Slam before, Elina Svitolina.
Svitolina beat Osaka twice last year, but the Japanese No. 1 took down Svitolina at the Australian Open in 2016.
With the semifinals scheduled for Thursday afternoon, both Wednesday winners will not have a day off to recover.
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