By Ros Satar, in Melbourne

  • Danielle Collins def. Angelique Kerber [2]
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Having never won a main draw match in a Sam before now Danielle Collins unceremoniously dumped Angelique Kerber out to reach the quarter-final.

 

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Danielle Collins def. Angelique Kerber [2]

In a great advert for college tennis, Danielle Collins is not backwards about coming forwards, and she certainly was not holding back when she took on the 2016 champion Angelique Kerber.

It was not a great day at the office for the birthday girl of just a couple of days ago, as she was broken to love in her first service game, with the pattern repeating itself in quick succession. It was enough for Kerber to take herself swiftly off court for her one permitted bathroom break.

It looked as though the break had bucked her up as she came out and broke for the first game of the second set, only for Collins to stamp that down with a break straight back. With the wind out of her sails, Collins eased her way past Kerber with two more breaks to send one of the firm favourites out of the tournament.

 

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Angelique Kerber after the fourth round of the Australian Open 2019, Melbourne

Angelique Kerber after the fourth round of the Australian Open 2019, Melbourne | Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

Kerber ruefully concluded: “It was completely not my day. I was not playing the tennis that I can play. She played really well. I think she played one of her best matches, to be honest. She hit every ball in the court. She moves good. Yeah, not my day, not my good tennis, but credit to her, she played a good match.”

Collins had most definitely done her homework when it came to what to do to neutralise Kerber’s leftiness. The German has never been one to completely utilise that advantage, but of course can run everything down, but never got a chance to get into any rhythm.

Collins said, after the match: “We spent a good amount of time watching her play. I played her last year, so I was familiar with her game. I had a clear mind-set of what I was going to do. From the very first point, I showed her that I wasn’t going to let her into the match, that I was going to dictate the entire way through.

“I stuck to my game plan. It clearly worked out well for me. Pretty much smooth sailing throughout the entire thing. I was just feeling really great.”

The American has come through the college system and playing on the lower tiers but like many of the youngsters stepping up and shining in the Melbourne sun, rather than be overwhelmed by the occasion, she has relished being on the big stage.

“I definitely played some tournaments in some strange places the first year that I turned pro. I’m really just grateful to be out here doing what I love and playing in front of a good crowd.

“Some of my most challenging matches were at 25Ks and 60Ks, playing Sachia Vickery in the finals after 25K, having it be a three-set match. I’ve faced some of my toughest matches there.

“I think the biggest thing is now I’m playing in bigger tournaments every week. I’m playing a full WTA schedule. Now I’m just playing against bigger opponents that people are more familiar with.”

Expect Collins to become one of those familiar names by this time next year.

Collins will play either compatriot Sloane Stephens or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who play in the night match on Sunday.

 

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