Danielle Collins is into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open for the second time in her career after beating Elise Mertens 4-6 6-4 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena.
In the third meeting between the two, the 2019 Australian Open semi-finalist came out on top with her aggressive brand of tennis, hitting 45 winners, and she found a way past Mertens’ plucky defensive game.
Collins will face Alize Cornet - who stunned Simona Halep in three sets - in the next round and it means there will be three American women in the last eight.
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"I think I had my ups and downs during the matches mentally and physically," Collins said afterwards.
"Elise was really working me to the max. She is one of the best anticipators on tour. Some of the points were incredible the balls she was getting back and shots that I thought were winner sometimes weren't.
"I had to put the pressure on and put in big shots because that's sometimes that's all you can do against such a good anticipator."
Collins raced into a 3-0 lead in the opening set, but Mertens cleaned up her unforced errors and responded by reeling off five successive games with some smart defensive tennis from the baseline, much to the frustration of the American who twice smashed her racquet against the ground.
Collins saved a set point as she pulled a game back, but the Belgian finished off the 57-minute opener on her third set point as her opponent fired a forehand into the trams.
The first set did not take the energy out of Collins as she secured a break early in the second set with a smash to take a 2-0 lead. Mertens was struggling to win points off her second serve and Collins continued to pressure, but the No 27 seed laboured to close out the set.
At 5-3 down, a wild forehand from Collins allowed Mertens to break back to make it 5-4. Collins did respond instantly though, aggressively rattling off four points in a row to force a third set decider.
In the third game Mertens quickly strung together four points on Collins’ serve to go a break up before the American immediately countered to bring it back on serve to 2-2.
Collins continued to have great joy on her backhand and it gave her the all-important match point at 5-4 up before sealing the victory thanks to a Mertens double fault.
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