Wednesday May 18, 2022

Swiatek, Collins beat heat to reach Melbourne semis spot

January 27, 2022
Swiatek, Collins beat heat to reach Melbourne semis spot

MELBOURNE: Danielle Collins and Iga Swiatek will meet in the Australian Open semi-finals after vastly contrasting wins in the last eight on Wednesday.

Collins swept past unseeded Alize Cornet in just 88 minutes to match her run to the last four in 2019.

But seventh seed Swiatek had to fight back from a set down and a break down against unseeded Estonian Kaia Kanepi before finally coming out on top 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 after a marathon 3hr 1min in energy-sapping heat on Rod Laver Arena.

Earlier, Collins shattered French veteran Cornet’s dream of making a first Grand Slam semi-final.

As temperatures nudged 35 Celsius (95 Fahrenheit), the American 27th seed came through 7-5, 6-1 to continue her resurgence after surgery last year.

“It feels incredible, especially after some of the health challenges that I have had,” said Collins, 28, who had “scary” surgery for endometriosis in April last year then tore her abdomen at the French Open.

“To be able to get back to this level and be able to compete the way I have and be as physical as I have has been so rewarding.”

Collins won her maiden WTA titles at San Jose and Palermo after recuperating and has now matched her 2019 run at Melbourne Park to reach her second Slam semi-final.

There she will meet the 20-year-old Swiatek, who proved too dogged as she outlasted Kanepi, who is 16 years her senior.

“I had so many break points (nine) in the first set that I felt like I missed my chances,” said Swiatek, the 2020 French Open champion.

“I was pretty annoyed and I should have been focused on the next point. And that’s what I did in the second set.”

Top seed Ashleigh Barty will face unseeded American Madison Keys in the other last-four clash on Thursday (today) for a place in Saturday’s final.