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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday January 27, 2022

Danielle Collins

Danielle went on the attack early and never took the foot off the gas as she defeated Iga Swiatek to reach the Australian Open final.

Photo Source: Getty

Raining down backhand winners at an alarming rate, American Danielle Collins swiftly moved past No.7-seeded Iga Swiatek 6-4, 6-1 to reach her maiden Grand Slam final at the Australian Open on Thursday night.

Tennis Express

“It feels amazing,” said Collins. “And it doesn’t happen overnight – it’s so many years of hard work.”

It was a breathtaking performance from the No.27 seed, who cracked 27 winners against 13 unforced errors as she opened up 4-0 leads in both sets and kept 20-year-old Swiatek, the 2020 Roland-Garros champion, on her back foot with a clinic in first-strike tennis.

The American, playing in her second Grand Slam semifinal, won 78 percent of her return points and 18 of 21 second-serve return points to keep control of the match.

There was simply nowhere to hide for Swiatek, who finished the night with 12 winners and 13 unforced errors, and was only able to hold in three of her nine service games.

The Pole didn't help herself with a slow start, either. She was sheepish from first ball, as Collins teed winners with her machine-like backhand, but the Pole did manage a rally in the middle of the opening set that saw her climb from 4-0 down to 5-4 down.

Collins snuffed that rally with a routine hold to lock up the opening set and finished by winning seven of the final games. Swiatek tried at times to find Collins’ forehand over the course of the 78-minute match, but often she seemed unable to put her tactics into play or stretch rallies to her liking.

Collins plan A was to keep the points short and she was able to do it by hitting her targets on serve and return. The 28-year-old American won 51 of 76 points of four or less strokes. There were only 27 points in the whole match that went longer.

“I have certainly added a little bit more variety to my game over the last couple of years, but this is my plan A,” Collins said. “I wanted to try to go out and execute this gameplan as best as I could, and it was working for me really well today, so I just had to stick with it.”

Collins, who will face World No.1 Ash Barty for the title on Saturday night, will also crack the Top-10 in next week’s rankings as a result of her performance at Melbourne.

“We’ve had some incredible battles over the years,” Collins said of facing the World No.1 (she has a 1-3 record against Barty but won their last meeting, last year in Adelaide). “To play against the No.1 player in the world in her home country, I think it’s going to be really spectacular.”


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