May 27th, 2024

Miami Open champion Danielle Collins wins twice to reach Charleston quarterfinals

By The Associated Press on April 4, 2024.

Danielle Collins returns the ball in a match against Ons Jabeur at the Charleston Open tennis tournament Thursday, April 4, 2024, in Charleston, S.C. (Henry Taylor/The Post And Courier via AP)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – Miami Open champion Danielle Collins continued an amazing run by winning two matches on Thursday, beating Ons Jabeur and Sloane Stephens to reach the quarterfinals of the rain-delayed Charleston Open.

Collins, who has said this will be her final season on tour, has won 10 straight matches and 20 of her past 21 sets.

Collins and defending champion Jabeur played the first match of the day at the clay-court event after rain Wednesday led to several matches being postponed.

None of it appeared to bother the 30-year-old Collins, who spent just over three hours on the court in the two matches combined.

She topped Jabeur 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 in 2 hours, 3 minutes, then returned about five hours later to take out former U.S. Open champion Stephens 6-2, 6-2 in 1 hour, 11 minutes. Stephens won the title at Charleston in 2016.

“I can’t remember the last time I played five sets in a day,” Collins said. “It was probably like, the juniors and 12-and-unders.

“But the inclement weather, we had to adjust,” she continued, “and I think on these days, you have to be really flexible and versatile out there.”

Jabeur, ranked sixth, lost her opening match for a fourth consecutive tournament. Jabeur is 2-6 this season.

The 22nd-ranked Collins will face either Elina Svitolina or Elise Mertens on Friday for a spot in the semifinals.

Top-seeded Jessica Pegula also reached the final eight, beating Magda Linette 6-2, 6-2. The fifth-ranked Pegula will face Victoria Azarenka in the quarters.

“I think I served really smart and I was playing well in these conditions, which were really tricky,” Pegula said. “And luckily, I was able to play the controlled, aggressive mentality in the wind and I was kind of able to pressure her.”

Azarenka rallied to defeat Taylor Townsend 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4.

Veronika Kudermetova advanced with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Beatriz Haddad Maia.

Collins lost her first set at Miami last month before winning the next 16 on the way to the championship.

She said Jabeur is a tricky player with a variety of shots that force her opponents to stay mentally ready.

“I have a little bit of experience with that, so I definitely knew how to handle it, and handled it the best as I could,” Collins said. “Then just stayed mentally resilient.”

Jabeur said she ran into a player on a big-time roll.

“It’s tough to play players that have confidence and Danielle is playing really good,” Jabeur said.

Jaqueline Cristian, playing Charleston for the first time, defeated her second top-20 player this week. She followed a win over 18th-ranked Madison Keys by beating No. 20 Emma Navarro 6-3, 5-7, 6-1.

Cristian led 5-4 in the second set before Navarro fought off two match points and took the set. The Romanian quickly shook it off.

“You’re ready for it. You live in the present,” Cristian said. “You don’t worry about what happened in the second set or the first, just the point itself.”

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AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis

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