Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button Follow Us on InstagramYouTube Social Button
NewsScoresRankingsLucky Letcord PodcastShopPro GearPickleballGear Sale

By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Wednesday, March 27, 2024


A ferocious Danielle Collins chomped Caroline Garcia 6-3, 6-2 to roar into her second Miami Open semifinal.

Photo credit: Robert Prange/Getty

The sponsor crocodile on the blue back wall wasn’t the only imposing predator stalking the stadium.

It was Danimal Day in Miami.

Wozniacki on Halep: If Someone Tests Positive, Should Get Wild Cards

A ferocious Danielle Collins chomped Caroline Garcia 6-3, 6-2 to roar into her second Miami Open semifinal.

The 30-year-old Collins, affectionately nicknamed "Danimal" for her fiery ferocity on court, announced in January this is her farewell season on the WTA Tour.

The way she’s playing, Collins could easily be a hard-court contender for years to come if she chooses to stick around.

If this is indeed her swansong, Collins is turning it into a statement of defiance.

Since surrendering the opening set of the tournament to Bernarda Pera, Collins has rolled through 10 consecutive sets—and she hasn't dropped more than three games in any of those 10 sets.

"I feel like I’ve made a lot of physical improvements over the last couple of weeks and made some adjustments within my game technically within those physical improvements," Collins told Tennis Channel's Prakash Amritraj afterward. "So I think that’s helping me a lot with the accuracy and precision with my shots getting more consistent in these points.

"Doing really well in the longer rallies but also playing my aggressive game style."

Exploiting Garcia's efforts to emulate the SABR return, the St. Petersburg native produced a powerful serving performance.

Collins served 60 percent, won 26 of 29 first-serve points, did not face a break point and won four games at love sweeping Garcia for the fourth time in as many meetings. Collins is so passionate on court, you wouldn't be surprised to see her unleash a "Come on!" after winning the coin toss.

Bellowing "Come on!" to fire herself after winning pivotal points today, Collins was an inferno of intensity and said she's pumped by the passion of Miami fans.

"For most people you’re either very pumped and excited or you can be a little bit more down in the dumps," Collins told Tennis Channel's Prakash Amritraj afterward.  "Obviously, you don’t always feel super pumped and sometimes you have to work through those challenging days.

"I think the way I’m playing there's certainly a lot to be pumped about. I like to show the positive body language and Iike the fan support I’m getting here is amazing and so that fires everybody up. It keeps everyone engaged so I try to have the best attitude I can out there especially for the young kids watching."

World No. 53 Collins will face either Ekaterina Alexandrova, who toppled world No. 1 Iga Swiatek, or compatriot Jessica Pegula for a spot in Saturday’s final. Should Pegula prevail tonight, then she’d face Collins in the first all-American Miami Open semifinal since the Williams sisters met in the 2009 semifinals.

This was the second Miami Open quarterfinal between two women age 30 or older and first since Serena Williams vs. Li Na in 2013 when the tournament was staged at Crandon Park on Key Biscayne

Though Garcia took the court third in the WTA ace race, Collins imposed her serve in the early stages.

Collins cranked an ace down the T to cap her second straight love hold for a 3-2 lead. Fifteen minutes into the match, Collins reeled off 12 straight service points.

Pressuring the Frenchwoman’s serve, Collins drilled a deep return right down the middle jamming Garcia into an error for a second break point in the eighth game.

The Collins two-handed return is a devastating weapon when it’s landing. Garcia challenged it and paid a price as Collins pounded a diagonal return then rapped another crosscourt backhand breaking for 5-3.

Serving for the set, Collins scrambled up quickly to a short return, converting her third set point to take a one-set lead after 35 minutes.

The St. Petersburg native served 63 percent and won 16 of 17 first-serve points in a set decided by a single break.

It was Collins’ seventh straight set against Garcia, who is complicit in her struggles against the American. Garcia’s stubborn insistence on standing inside the baseline to return Collins’ first-serve, a move reminiscent of the young Marion Bartoli.

About 21 years ago, Bartoli tried aggressively encroaching on Serena’s first serve in the Miami quarterfinals at Crandon Park and Williams responded by hammering a 116 mph rib-rocking body serve.

It was a territorial strike by Serena.

Today, Collins used the uber-aggressive Garcia return position against her, stamping three love holds in her first six service games.

A fired-up Collins scraped by a couple of stretched returns coaxing a netted forehand to break for a 2-1 second-set lead roaring “Come on!”

Amping up her intensity even more, Collins stared right at Garcia screaming “Let’s Go!” after the Frenchwoman put a return into the middle of the net. That fiery stand helped the Floridian confirm the break for 3-1.

Though the Collins crosscourt backhand did considerable damage in this match, she curled a sharp-angled crosscourt forehand for a fourth break point in the seventh game. Garcia, who had rallied from love-40 down, saved the fourth break point with a diagonal forehand.

A pair of backhand bolt returns helped Collins convert her fifth break point for a one-set, 5-2 lead.

The former all-American closed at love for her first Miami Open semifinal since 2018 when she reached the final four as a qualifier.

So after delivering some of the most dynamic tennis of her career in front of home fans this week, will the Danimal reconsider retirement and roar again in 2025? 

"At this point, probably not," Collins said. "I’m doing pretty well out here and enjoying it, having a lot of fun.

"But yeah I think it’s time for me to close the page at the end of the year…This is life."


Latest News