Danielle Collins to play Iga Swiatek in Australian Open semi-final

MELBOURNE, Australia — Danielle Collins played outstanding tennis to reach the Australian Open semi-finals, but only after winning to be...


MELBOURNE, Australia — Danielle Collins played outstanding tennis to reach the Australian Open semi-finals, but only after winning to be “able to feel like a normal person.”

Less than a year after a diagnosis of endometriosis led to the removal of a tennis ball-sized cyst from her uterus, as well as tissue from her bladder and bowels, Collins, 27th head series, edged Alizé Cornet, 7-5, 6-1, in a quarter-final match Wednesday afternoon at Rod Laver Arena.

“The advice I’ve gotten over the years is that painful periods are normal, taking anti-inflammatories regularly is normal,” Collins said. “I felt like it was something I had to deal with. It eventually got to the point where I couldn’t physically or mentally deal with it anymore.

“Once I was able to get the right diagnosis and the operation, I feel like it helped me a lot – not just from a physical point of view, but from a mental point of view” , she added.

Collins was able to return to competition seven weeks after the operation, at Roland-Garros last year.

Cornet said Collins’ piece was even more powerful and smothering than she had anticipated.

“Her ball goes very fast in the air and she takes the ball very early,” Cornet said. “All the time, you feel really oppressed. I felt out of breath all the time. I couldn’t place my stake. She never let me do it, never gave me time to do it. Yes, she is impressive.

Prior to the game, Cornet compared Collins, known for her roars of encouragement on the pitch, to a lion, but said afterwards: “Today I don’t think I gave him enough of a fight for him. ‘she can express herself.”

Collins returns to the semifinals three years after making his only other Grand Slam singles semifinal appearance here. Cornet was playing in his first quarter-final in 63 Grand Slam main draw matches. She said her run gave her a new appreciation for the challenge of advancing deep in a tournament like the Australian Open.

“I have undying respect for the Grand Slam winner because it’s such a long road; my God, I feel like I’ve been playing this tournament for a year,” said Cornet. “I’m so exhausted mentally, physically. When you go all the way and win those fucking seven games, it’s just huge.

In a semi-final on Thursday night, Collins will face Polish seventh seed Iga Swiatek, who took over three hours to beat Estonian Kaia Kanepi, 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-3, more late Wednesday afternoon.

Thursday’s first semi-final will pit top-seeded Australian Ashleigh Barty against unseeded American Madison Keys. If Collins and Keys both win, it will stage the first all-American final in Melbourne since Serena Williams beat her sister Venus in 2017.

Collins, 28, first reached the semifinals here three years ago in a breakout race that cemented his rise from collegiate star at the University of Virginia to professional elite.

Besides her physical improvements, Collins said some of her biggest mental growths came in late 2020 on a very different surface: when American doubles specialist Bethanie Mattek-Sands took her rock climbing in Arizona.

Collins, who has had a long-time fear of heights, said she was ‘terrified’ by the ‘what ifs’ of climbing, but the stakes involved – even with lots of safety gear in use – made tennis relaxing in comparison.

“Halfway through, I realized that every time I step out on the pitch, it’s not life or death,” she said. “For people who practice rock climbing, it can be. It was a really big realization for me and I think something helped me step out of my comfort zone and try something that I had never done before, something that I was really afraid of. to do. It was a huge moment of growth for me.

The comeback win marks a new area of ​​growth for Swiatek, who burst into the top echelon of the game when she raced to the 2020 French Open title without dropping a set. Swiatek and her traveling sports psychologist, Daria Abramowicz, have focused on winning when they’re not playing their best.

Last season, Swiatek only came back to win after losing the first set three times in 13 matches.

“I’m proud of myself because I’m still able to find solutions and think more on the pitch about what to change, because before it wasn’t so clear to me,” Swiatek said. “It’s part of the work we did with Daria to control my emotions and maybe just focus on finding solutions.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Danielle Collins to play Iga Swiatek in Australian Open semi-final
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