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Collins Takes Down Sakkari To Reach Charleston Final

Apr 8th 2024

Collins dispatches Sakkari 6-3, 6-3 to reach Charleston Open final

In the penultimate round of the Credit One Charleston Open, American Danielle Collins continued to dazzle in what will be her final season on tour. Playing without pressure and total abandon has generated perhaps the most inspired tennis of her notable career.

Fresh off her stunning performance in Miami where she lifted her maiden trophy at the WTA 1000 level, the two-time NCAA champion shows no signs of slowing down. The thirty-year-old Floridian was ranked #71 at the start of the season. She achieved a career-high ranking of #7 in the summer of 2022 and at the start of that season reached her lone grand slam final at the Australian Open (l. Osaka). Currently on the precipice of the top twenty, she just may finish her career back in the top ten. 

Her opponent in the semis also had a resurgence this season, especially since joining forces with renowned coach, David Witt. Maria Sakkari had been poised for greatness having reached a career-high ranking of #3 in the spring of 2022. The twenty-eight-year-old from Greece seemed to have the requisite tools to sustain her reign near the top of the sport but dramatic fluctuations in confidence and direction held her back.

Danielle Collins (AP)

During the Sunshine Double, she reached the final in Indian Wells (l. Swiatek) and the quarters in Miami losing in three tight sets to Elena Rybakina. Having gone four years without a title, the Athens native won the WTA 1000 event in Guadalajara (d. Dolehide) at the tail end of last season. 

While Sakkari led the head-to-head 2-1, this was their first tour-level meeting on clay. Collins triumphed in their most recent meeting last summer in Montreal. Each with one clay title on their resume, this semifinal showdown promised and for the most part, delivered. 

Collins won the toss and elected to serve. She opened with a blistering backhand down the line and with her first ace, held to 15 while Sakkari opened with a netted forehand, faced double break point, and dumped serve.

The American missed 3/6 first serves but held to 30 with an outstanding backhand down the line to consolidate the break while Sakkari despite gifting a double fault, got on the board with a fantastic forehand down the line.

Collins uncharacteristically donated four consecutive backhand errors to drop serve while Sakkari despite another double fault, consolidated the break to level at 3-3

The Miami Open champion hit two consecutive forehand winners and held at love for 4-3 while Sakkari serving with new balls, donated her third double fault and dumped serve when Collins ripped a backhand down the line. Collins missed 3/4 of first serves yet managed to secure the set 6-3 with a love hold.

Sakkari served first in the second and with her fourth double fault faced two deuce, three break points, and dumped serve. Collins gifted her first double fault but with a crosscourt backhand swing volley winner, consolidated the break for 2-0.

Sakkari missed 3/6 first serves including another double fault yet held to 30 for 1-2 while Collins faced deuce and double break point but managed to hold with an ace out wide.

Sakkari opened the fifth with an incredible inside-in backhand volley winner and closed with a stunning forehand down the line for 2-3. Collins opened the sixth with her second double fault and faced five deuce and two break points but battled and held to lead 4-2.

Sakkari opened with a brilliant backhand down the line and held easily to 15 for 3-4 while Collins struck two consecutive aces and held at love for 5-3. Sakkari serving to stay in the match donated three additional unforced errors the last a double fault to concede the game and match.

Danielle Collins dominated the middle of the court and with supreme clarity of thought, reached her second consecutive final and fifth overall. It was another captivating performance from the American on her farewell tour. She was outstanding on serve winning 77% of first and 56% of second serve points and saved 4/5 break points while converting 4/7.

Awaiting in the final is world #11 Daria Kasatkina. The twenty-six-year-old Russian leads the head-to-head 2-1 including their lone battle on the dirt in Rome in 2018. While they have not contested a match in almost three years, this promises to be an enthralling championship match with contrasting styles and personalities.