Danielle Collins stuns hero Venus Williams at Miami Open


It was Collins' first victory against a top 10 player.

She will be trying to win her first Miami Open championship when she takes on Jelena Ostapenko in the women's final at 1 p.m. Saturday on Stadium Court at the Crandon Park Tennis Center on Key Biscayne. It seemed as if the crowd in Miami would be treated to an extremely close second set.

There could, however, be no sterner test for the 24 year-old than veteran Williams, who had fought her own battles to reach this stage, saving three match points in a marathon three-setter against Kiki Bertens in the round of 32. On a sultry evening here, when the persistent wind that has plagued so any matches finally expired, Collins certified Williams' opinion. Collins gave away two break point opportunities, and eventually, the Latvian controlled a crucial rally drilling a forehand drive volley that force the opening set to a tiebreak. "It's always fantastic for my friends and family when I play here". She went for every shot and they landed. "I mean, there's going to be some days where they don't land, but that wasn't today". Along the way she's knocked out the likes of childhood hero and No.8 seed Venus Williams as well as CoCo Vandeweghe and Monica Puig, putting together a fairytale run into the semifinals. "That's exactly what I did", said Collins to media.

The previously unheralded Collins, a Florida native who ended 2017 ranked 167TH but came into this tournament as the 93rd best player in the world, is certainly having a March to remember.

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Stephens endured an alarming fall from grace after her sensational US Open triumph last September, going five months without a win before stopping the rot at the Mexican Open. Williams has won the Miami Open three times, in 1998, 1999, and 2001.

"[Collins] played very well, aggressively", Williams said afterward. She became a two-time NCAA champ and wasn't even tempted to turn professional after logging the first one.

And she teamed up with Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski to win the doubles title in Qatar last month.

The big-serving Isner made the Miami semifinals for the second time in four years, needing just over an hour to overpower South Korea's Hyeon Chung 6-1, 6-4. Collins needed to survive two qualifying matches before making the main draw at Key Biscayne, and will now meet sixth-seeded Jelena Ostapenko in Thursday's semifinals. Ostapenko is the current French Open champion and will provide another tough test for Collins.