By Ros Satar, in Melbourne
- Petra Kvitova  def. Danielle Collins 7-6(2) 6-0
- Reaches her first Australian Open final, and a first Slam final since 2014.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Crowd favourite Petra Kvitova overcame extreme heat and Danielle Collins to book her spot in the Australian Open final.
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Petra Kvitova  def. Danielle Collins 7-6(2) 6-0
In the brutal conditions that Melbourne dishes up every now and again, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, and college champion and surprise package of the Australian Open Danielle Collins took to the furnace to do battle to bid for a place in Saturday’s final.
The roof was opened much to the confusion of many, but the heat rule was in effect. In scarcely believable conditions the match started with some nerves evident certainly on the side of Kvitova, as Collins seemed to cope a lot better with the conditions, breaking the Czech.
Kvitova had the experience to whether the storm, plugging away to break on her fifth break point chance as they continued to the first set tie-break. It was an early mini-break for Kvitova who jumped out to a 5-1 lead with one more and while Collins was getting a little hot under the collar with a marginal overrule, the first set went the way of the two-time Slam champion with a mighty roar.
If you roar at her, Collins will roar right back. She had already been a bit unhappy that the roof had been closed as a result of the heat stress index hitting 5.0 and got herself annoyed once more with umpire Carlos Ramos as Kvitova grabbed the match by the scruff of the neck.
Kvitova made the second set virtually unplayable as she closed out the second set with no issues.
After the match, Kvitova admitted that after the trials and tribulations of the last few weeks, this was a very sweet victory. Since reaching the semi-final in 2012, Kvitova’s experience in Melbourne has been less than stellar, only getting as far as the third round in 5 attempts.
She told reporters: “I worked pretty hard to be back there. It just taste very great. So I’m really happy to be back there again. To be honest, I think not very many people believe that I can do that again, to stand on the court and play tennis and kind of play on this level. It was just really few of them, I think.
“I’m very happy to have those few around me, which is the best, I think. And definitely feels great. Hopefully for them, as well, for my family and for everybody who was there when I needed it.
“The mental side it wasn’t really easy to kind of deal with that every time coming to the Grand Slam and losing. Maybe that’s why it’s probably more sweeter than should be.”
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Collins might have not wanted the roof to be closed, but she also praised her opponent when she had her post-match press conference:
“They need to start the match the way it’s gonna finish, I think. I think they do that in football, and I think it certainly changed a little bit of the rhythm in the match. But again, it is what it is, and that’s the decision they made, and she played really great tennis. I think that should probably be the focus of the conversation (smiling).
“Maybe some people thought I was a one-hit wonder, it was a fluke. Clearly none of this has been a fluke. I think there is a lot of great things to build off of, and I think I had a really great learning experience throughout the entire tournament, and especially today.
“I learned that experience plays a big role in tennis, and Petra is an incredible champion. I think there is a lot to learn off of what she does on the court. I think she went out and played fearless tennis, so I think all credit to her. I also — I mean, this was my first semi-final of a Grand Slam, and it was the first time I have played main draw here in Australia. So it’s kind of showed me no matter what the situation, I can handle it very well and compete my hardest and play my best tennis in important situations.”
Kvitova will face Naomi Osaka in the final on Saturday.
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