Danielle COLLINS secures semifinal berth at Rome Open with victory over Victoria AZARENKA

Wednesday, 15 May 2024 at 20:55
Danielle Collins (No. 15) clinches victory against Victoria Azarenka (No. 24) by 6-4, 6-3 and advances to the semifinals of the Rome Open. The American joins the top-3 in the semifinals and will face Aryna Sabalenka (No. 2) in search of her third final of the year.
The 30-year-old player will play semifinals of a WTA 1000 for the third time in her career, although the previous two were in the hardcourts of the Miami Open. Collins increased her year's record to 32-8 and is on the brink of the top-10.
The first set started in favor of the former world No. 1 who took a quick break to take the lead by 2-0. In a high-intensity encounter, both stood strong from the baseline in the cross-court exchanges, but it was Collins who imposed her power from the forehand and took control of the set by winning the next 5 games consecutively.
Azarenka managed to reduce the deficit and recovered the break so she had the chance with her service to level the score, but made several errors that ended up conceding a new break, and the set to her opponent by 6-4. Both were particularly inaccurate with their serves, with 5 double faults each only in the first set.
In the second set, 'Danimal' varied her service points more and was indecipherable for Azarenka from the return. Collins capitalized on Azarenka's constant double faults and was the first to take a break in the fourth game and easily took the lead until 4-1 with impeccable service games.
Collins totalized 6 aces and 9 double faults
Collins had everything to take the second break later in a long game of 18 points, but it ultimately went to the Belarusian. Azarenka recovered the break in the 7th game and had again the chance to equalize with her service, just like in the first set, but she was unable to convert it.
Finally, Collins closed the match with her service by 6-4, 6-3 and advanced to the semifinals of the Rome Open, where she will face Aryna Sabalanka. Two weeks ago at the Madrid Open, Sabalenka ended Collins' streak of 15 consecutive wins. The former Australian Open finalist has won 19 of her last 20 matches, with the only exception being the loss against the Belarusian by 6-4, 4-6, 3-6.

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