Australian Open 2022: Title wins teach Danielle Collins to 'ride out highs and lows'

The American staged a comeback to halt giant-killing Danish teenager Clara Tauson and keep alive dreams of bettering her last-four Australian Open heroics in 2019

Agence France-Presse January 22, 2022 14:59:44 IST
Australian Open 2022: Title wins teach Danielle Collins to 'ride out highs and lows'

File image of Danielle Collins. AP

MelbourneAustralia: Breaking through to win two titles last year taught Danielle Collins how to "ride out the highs and lows" — and it stood her in good stead Saturday at the Australian Open.

The American staged a comeback to halt giant-killing Danish teenager Clara Tauson and keep alive dreams of bettering her last-four Australian Open heroics in 2019.

Collins, the 27th seed, was a set and 1-3 down against the emerging star, but turned it around to win 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 in searing heat on Rod Laver Arena.

Her fightback set up a last-16 clash against 2018 semi-finalist Elise Mertens after the Belgium 19th-seed cruised past China's Zhang Shuai 6-2, 6-2.

Collins clinched WTA titles in San Jose and Palermo last year, an achievement that culminated seven years of grind on the women's tour.

The victories came after a tough start to 2021 for the American, who was off tour between March and the French Open in May, needing surgery to remove a cyst.

"I think last year winning my first two events, I think it taught me how to win matches when I wasn't playing as well and not playing perfect tennis because I think it's easy to go into a tournament and make quarter-finals or semi-finals," she said.

"Not easy, but you know what I mean, you can win a couple of matches, but to win a tournament you really have to kind of embrace all of the different circumstances.

"You're going to have windy days, you're going to have rain delays, you're going to have times where you're missing and not playing your best, then you're going to have times where you probably are playing your best, so being able to ride out the highs and lows.

"I think I made a big improvement and step in the right direction last year with that."

Tauson, 19, was making her main draw debut at Melbourne Park and stunned in-form sixth seed Anett Kontaveit in round two to telegraph her arrival -- her first win over a top-10 player.

She had signalled her potential by winning titles in Luxembourg and Lyon last year, propelling her to a career-high 39.

Collins made a dream start, breaking to race 4-1 ahead, winning 10 straight points at one stage, before Tauson battled back and reeled off five straight games to take the set.

The Dane broke for a 3-1 lead in the second, but the match turned in the eighth game when Collins broke back.

The momentum shift saw her win the next two games to level the match.

Tauson refused to yield, saving two match points trailing 4-5 to take it to a tie-break, where her resolve was finally broken.

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