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Danielle Collins: One Final Shot At Glory Before Retirement

Danielle Collins Miami Open

It has been over two months since Danielle Collins shocked the tennis world by announcing her retirement at the end of 2024. The 30-year-old had narrowly lost to world No. 1 Iga Swiatek moments before she told reporters about her decision. Some wondered at the time if those comments were just in the heat of the moment. However, it soon became apparent that her decision was final. Collins has played a lot of good tennis throughout the season so far, including reaching the quarterfinal at the WTA 1000 event in Doha.

But the Floridian’s level has reached new heights at her home tournament at the Miami Open, where she will contest the final against last year’s Australian Open runner-up Elena Rybakina. If successful, it will be her first WTA 1000 title. It is a chance for Collins to write a glorious chapter in her final months as a professional player. Her WTA career has been shorter than most but it has been filled with action.

Collins’ Journey To Being A Grand Slam Finalist

Collins came onto the WTA Tour later than the vast majority of players. This was due to her involvement in College tennis until 2016. Her achievements during that time included winning the singles title at the NCAA Championships in 2014. Collins did not get her first victory on the WTA Tour until 2018 at the age of 24. She rose to prominence for the first time at that year’s Miami Open. Collins reached the semifinal, beating Venus Williams in the quarterfinal along the way. Further international recognition followed with a run to the semifinal at the 2019 Australian Open. Her extremely powerful and fearless playing style became known to the tennis world, with Collins gaining much popularity as a result.

She won both her WTA titles to date in 2021. with one of these being a WTA 500 event at the Silicon Valley Classic. However, the 2022 Australian Open was the most impressive moment of Collins’ career to date. She thrilled fans in Melbourne by blasting her way to her Grand Slam final. This included a stunning performance to defeat Iga Swiatek in the semifinal, with the Pole remarking afterwards that Collins “hits the fastest ball I have ever played in a match”.

Unfortunately, she was unable to overcome Naomi Osaka in the final. But the exhilarating brand of tennis that Collins produced meant further chances at the biggest events seemed very possible.

Inconsistencies For Two Years

Collins did not build on her success at the Australian Open in the manner that many expected. She has not reached another quarterfinal of a Grand Slam since. In addition, her only WTA 1000 quarterfinal until the start of 2024 was at the Miami Open once again. The 30-year-old’s very aggressive style of tennis is among the best to watch when it is flowing. But that approach can also be costly when her range is slightly off. That was often the case for the 24 months after her run at the Australian Open.

Some physical issues did play a role. Collins suffers from rheumatoid arthritis that has often affected her. She was also struck by a couple of other injuries that impacted her at times.. Such physical ailments undoubtedly increased the pressure on her to regularly find winners with her aggressive tennis.

After announcing her retirement at the end of the season, some may have expected her career to peter out somewhat after Collins’ relative struggles since reaching the Australian Open final. But her decision to announce her impending retirement seems to have galvanized Collins.

Collins’ Special Tennis And Golden Opportunity At The 2024 Miami Open

As mentioned previously, Collins was playing well before this year’s Miami Open. This included beating Naomi Osaka in Abu Dhabi and coming close to defeating Elena Rybakina at the same event. But her performances in Miami have been extraordinary to watch, with her level exceeding what she achieved at the 2022 Australian Open.

After dropping the first set of her opening round match against Bernarda Pera, Collins has won 12 consecutive sets. She has not lost more than three games in any of those sets, demolishing Pera, Anastasia Potapova, Elina Avanesyan, Sorana Cirstea, Caroline Garcia and Ekaterina Alexandrova to make the final. Her backhand in particular has been utterly devastating on return and from the baseline. No other WTA player has hit their backhand at such a level so far this season.

This is Collins’ chance to claim a big title before she retires. It is at the WTA 1000 event she was most successful at before this year, it is her home tournament, the conditions are perfect for her powerful game and she is playing the best tennis of her life. Rybakina is a formidable obstacle in the final. However, the 2022 Wimbledon champion played two very long matches against last year’s Guadalajara champion Maria Sakkari and 2023 Australian Open semifinalist Victoria Azarenka to progress to the final. If there is a time to play the Kazakhstani in the final, it is now.

The stage is set for Collins to win the biggest title of her career in front of her home fans. She will not get a better opportunity before she retires. It is up to her to rise to the occasion.

Main Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


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