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Danielle Collins battles her way into another Australian Open quarter-final

Known as one of the most feisty competitors on the tour, Danielle Collins joins fellow Americans Madison Keys and Jessica Pegula in the Australian Open quarter-finals

Danielle Collins of the U.S. reacts during her fourth round match against Belgium's Elise Mertens at the 2022 Australian Open Danielle Collins of the U.S. reacts during her fourth round match against Belgium’s Elise Mertens at the 2022 Australian Open Image Credit: AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Australian Open 2022 | Draw Order of play 

The Australian Open has proved to be a happy hunting ground for 28-year-old Danielle Collins. The American reached her first, and so far only, Grand Slam semi-final at Melbourne Park in 2019. She will face the French veteran Alize Cornet.

Three years later, Collins will make an attempt to reach her second Grand Slam semi-final after beating Belgium’s Elise Mertens to advance to the quarter-finals of the 2022 Australian Open.

As usual, Danielle Collins brought out all her feistiness and grit on court as did Mertens, who her opponent described as “one of the best anticipators” in the game. Collins came out firing to go up 3-0 in the first set, but the Belgian, a former semi-finalist at the Australian Open herself, stormed back to win six of the next seven games and claim the first set 6-4.

Danielle Collins fights back after loss of first set

The American, who won her first 2 WTA singles titles in 2021, got off to a quick start in the second set as well, breaking early to go up 3-0. She held the lead till 5-2 when Mertens pulled the break back to get the set back on serve at 5-4. However, Collins once again piled the pressure to break her opponent at love and win the second set 6-4 and send the match into a deciding tiebreak.

In the third set, it was Mertens who drew first blood, breaking Collins to go up 2-1. The Belgian was unable to consolidate her lead though as Collins broke right back for 2-2. The next five games were held with serve but Collins once again pulled the trigger to break in the 10th game and complete the 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win in two hours and 51 minutes. Only six points separated the two players at the end of the match, with Collins winning 110 points to Mertens’ 104.

“(I am) super excited. The last couple years after I made semis I think I lost like second round each year, so to be back in the quarters means a lot. It’s taken a lot to get to the quarters, some really tough battles and tough opponents,” the American said.

Collins, who underwent surgery for endometriosis last year, is now the third American woman to reach the last eight in Melbourne this year, joining Madison Keys and Jessica Pegula, who won their fourth round matches on Sunday. Her reward is a quarter-final showdown with 32-year-old Alize Cornet, who upset two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in another fourth-round match on Monday.

“She is an incredible player and person for our sport” – Collins on next opponent Cornet

Collins knows she will have a tough challenge in Cornet, who she described as an incredible player and person. “I think she’s an incredible player and person for our sport. I think her hard work and tenacity really comes out every time she plays and steps on the court. She’s always someone that’s very fun to watch, someone that’s very pleasant to see on a day-to-day basis and passing in the locker room. I appreciate her a lot.”

Cornet, herself, described Collins as “a lion” on the court while speaking to the press, something which Collins, who is known to be one of the most intense players on the tour, said was nice of the Frenchwoman to say.

“I think we are both competitors, and I think that all of us can appreciate each other’s toughness and tenacity and what we do. I think we understand each other best, all the players on tour, because we know what everyone is going through, and we all share so many of the same experiences. So that was very nice of her to say.”

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