Collins Completes Crazy Run, Beats Rybakina For Miami Masters Title

by Staff | March 31st, 2024, 9:15 pm
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Danielle Collins completed the best event of her career with her biggest title, taking the Miami Masters Saturday over Elena Rybakina 7-5, 6-3.

The fiery Collins had lost her last three to Rybakina but would not be denied on this day. The American who will retire at the end of the year saved break points in the middle of the first then cracked through Rybakina’s serve to take the set. She then gone the better in the second.

“What a dream come true to have played at the level that I have played consistently over the last two weeks. This has been such a journey for me,” Collins said.

“30 years old, you know, this was the finals of my first 1000, and it’s been a different journey than I think a lot of the stories that we’re familiar with.

“It’s just been amazing to go out today and to have felt the energy that I felt from the fans and literally feel like I’m playing in front of thousands of my best friends, that was just surreal. I will never forget this day because of that.”

For Collins, it’s her third career title and by far the biggest of her career. She beat five seeds en route.

“I had a few match points, and Elena was doing some great things out there and pushing me back and really forcing me to come up with some good stuff movement-wise, hitting hard shots, hitting the small parts of the court,” Collins said.

“So that is really challenging when someone forces you to come up with your best stuff. I certainly felt that way on the returns and the serving today. I knew that I had to bring my A game.”

Collins says her retirement plans haven’t been put on hold.

“I feel like all of these questions are coming from such a good place, because I feel like a lot of people would like to continue seeing me play well,” Collins said.

“But like I said, I have some health challenges, and with those health challenges, it makes things for me away from the court a little more difficult. I hope everyone can respect that. It’s a very emotional and personal thing. Yeah.”

Rybakina credited Collins with her strong play.

“We played before a couple of times, and it was always tough matches. She’s playing very aggressive. I think just these first few shots of the point, you need to be very reactive,” Rybakina said.

“Of course physically I was not at my best so I couldn’t push myself. Maybe I should have maybe just risked a little bit more when I had these breakpoints, but again, the conditions are tough. The ball, especially if it’s not new, is not going that well. Also the percentage of my first serve was not the best today.

“So overall, I think it was just tough to compete against someone who is playing so well these two weeks. I think physically she was much fresher than me.”

Rybakina finishes runner-up for a second straight year in Miami. She was still happy with her event.

“Very tough match, but as I said, we were not expecting for me to be in the final with all the circumstances and that I didn’t play so much before the tournament,” Rybakina said.

“So overall I think it’s a positive week, and yeah, it was a lot of good matches. I’m happy with that.”

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