By Ros Satar, in Melbourne
- Petra Kvitova  v Danielle Collins
- H2H: Kvitova leads 2-1
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Two incredible stories, one winner with a spot in the Australian Open final as we preview Petra Kvitova and Danielle Collins.
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Petra Kvitova  v Danielle Collins | H2H: Kvitova leads 1-0
The Aussie crowds will have a treat in a semi-final with players they have both got behind. Petra Kvitova may have dashed Aussie hopes as Ashleigh Barty brought the sun down on the Aussie singles interest in the tournament but received a standing ovation when asked if she would ever have seen herself in a Slam semi-final after a knife attack in her home almost ended her career.
She said, after ripping through Barty in straight sets: “It was kind of a mix of emotions of everything I’ve been through. You know, sometimes I’m not really recognising anything from the past. But when Jim (Courier) asked that, it wasn’t really easy for me to kind of see myself being in a semi-final after everything.
“I always wanted to come back and play on the highest level I can, compete with the best, play the Grand Slams, actually be very deep in the Grand Slam, which is happening. Yeah, it just took me a bit to the tears, but it was happy tears, for sure.”
Kvitova was completely dialled in from start to finish against Barty and certainly for the first set there was little that the Aussie could do against the barrage. By the time Barty got herself back into it, with just two chances in the second set to break the Czech, it was just too late to turn the tide. Kvitova last reached the semi-finals at the Australian Open in 2012 and since then she has been a strictly first-week girl.
Who will be the Australian Open Women’s Singles Champion?
Over the other side of the net will be surprise package Danielle Collins who started her season by forcing Kvitova to come from a set down in their first round match in Brisbane at the start of the season.
Collins is a force of nature on and off the court. Twice she has come from a set behind in this tournament, and in between has been swift and decisive in her game play. In particular the way in which she completely dismantled 2016 champion Angelique Kerber shows that she is here to deliver the upset if she can.
Feisty off the court, she brings in the brash and is not shy in bigging up her chances against anyone, no matter who they are or what they have won.
She moves well and hits the cover off the ball, and the pair will be giving it all the power all the time. Collins does not act at all like she is just happy to be there, and that is what Kvitova found when they first played this year.
Collins, with perhaps more of a nod to her college tennis background, certainly does her homework against her opponents, and there will be some experience to call upon.
She explained, after reaching the semi-final: “I followed a lot of her career. She’s an incredible champion, has gone through a lot. We had a really great battle a couple weeks ago, one of the best matches I’ve played. I didn’t even win that match.”
Both players have gained the admiration of the fans but when it comes down to experience, you have to give Kvitova the edge, although the pressure of her current 10-match winning streak might catch up with her.
Prediction: Kvitova in three sets.
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