Danielle Collins has beaten Iga Swiatek 6-4, 6-1 on Rod Laver Arena, setting up an epic Australian Open final against home favourite Ashleigh Barty.
Collins started the match in explosive fashion, powering a succession of winners down the line which were well beyond Swiatek’s reach. She won the first game after her opponent double faulted at a crucial moment, capitalising ruthlessly, before dropping a single point on serve and then securing a double break to leave the world No. 9 desperately searching for answers.
Swiatek managed to hold at the third time of asking before breaking back, with both players struggling on serve from there on out. Collins got her third break of the match after her opponent spooned a return wide, but Swiatek then saved two set points to break back once more after the American double faulted twice.
'I love the way she's playing' - Henman backing Swiatek for French Open success
Despite continuing to look shaky on serve, Swiatek started to grow into the match. She held to make it 5-4 and force Collins to serve out the set, which she duly did with three aces and a decisive rally – either side of a double fault – in a fittingly mercurial finish.
Collins regained control in the opening game of the second set, sweeping an angled winner across the court for another instant break. Given the fluctuating rhythm of the match, it felt like a turning point when she then held to love.
Swiatek couldn’t stop the slide, giving up a double break with little resistance. She fought back to take Collins to deuce at 3-0, but a couple of big serves won the game for her opponent and strengthened her foothold in the final.
The pair traded games from there before Collins won the match with a sixth and final break. She now faces the biggest challenge of her career against the world No 1, having reached her first ever Grand Slam final.
Asked what it meant to reach the grand finale after the match, Collins told Eurosport: “It feels amazing. It’s been such a journey and it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s been so many years of hard work and hours at an early age on court. I mean, yesterday I was talking about all the early mornings where my dad would get up with me and practise before school.
“It’s just incredible to be on this stage, especially with the health challenges, and I’m just so grateful. I couldn’t be happier.”
'Her best shot' - Collins storms into early lead with a break against Swiatek
- - -
Stream the 2022 Australian Open live and on demand on discovery+. A subscription for discovery+ is now £29.99 for the first year for UK users, down from £59.99
How can 'Rafa-like' Swiatek be stopped? And who could do it?
'Favourite' Swiatek still beatable over three sets at French Open - Wilander
Share this article