World No. 30 Danielle Collins booked her spot in the finals of the 2022 Australian Open as she cruised past World No. 9 Iga Swiatek in straight-sets in the semi-finals. Collins won the match 6-4, 6-1 in 1 hour and 18 minutes to reach her first-ever Grand Slam final in front of a packed Rod Laver Arena.
Swiatek was not allowed to come into the match by Collins as the American broke Swiatek in the first game itself and quickly raced to take a 4-0 lead. While Swiatek managed to pull back to 5-4, Collins finished it 6-4 and then was again 4-0 up in the second set and did not allow any slip up to wrap up the match quickly and confirm her spot in the finals.
“It’s been an incredible journey this tournament, having a lot of fun on the court, a lot of tough opponents and battles out there and to be through to the finals is really incredible. I’m at a loss for words. Today with the tactics and game plan I had, getting off to the solid start that I had, I felt like I was really in the zone. There wasn’t a lot getting in my way.
“I was in a really good rhythm hitting the ball really clean, moving the ball around well playing some solid tennis. When you are that focused on the tactics like I was and so locked into what I was doing, I was also thinking about the point before where I kind of set it up to win and Iga had an incredibly athletic play there, going up to the volley that I hit short and then passed me.
“So I was kind of expecting another long point so it was a kind of shock when I finally closed it out,” said Collins during her press conference explaining her match out today and her no cheerful celebration despite reaching her first-ever Grand Slam final since turning Pro in 2016.
Danielle Collins not afraid of crowd support for Ash Barty
Collins will now take on World No. 1 and heavy favourite Ash Barty who is also into the finals for the first time at her home Slam and will be looking to end Australia’s wait for an Australian woman champion in 42 years.
“I’m just really grateful to see faces in the crowd again and to see people getting fired up seeing positive energy and hearing people’s voices and that’s something I really thrive in whether I have a full crowd going for me or whether I have the opposite or something in the middle, I just love the energy. There’s going to be a lot of people supporting Ash and it’s all in good spirit.
“Every time we’ve played, we’ve battled and some really fun matches and even the matches that I’ve lost have been some of my most memorable moments on the court because of the battle, going back and forth. Something I really admire about Ash’s game is her variety and playing different game styles that pretty much all of the players on the Tour.
“There’s not that many who use the slice backhand the way she does and use the big serve the way she does. She has really great variety and mixes her spots well. She hits all different corners and mixes her speed. When I go out against her, I think we will have another battle and put on a good show for everyone,” added Collins on her match-up against Barty.
Barty and Collins will clash for the title on 29th January on Saturday in the first Grand Slam finals of the 2022 season that will crown a first-time Australian Open champion.