At this year’s US Open, Danielle Collins is defying expectations and head-to-head records as she heads into the second week of the New York Grand Slam. She began her campaign with a straight-sets win against Naomi Osaka, against whom she had lost all three of her previous encounters.
The American beat Cristina Bucsa and Alize Cornet next, without dropping a set in either contest, to make her way to the fourth round at Flushing Meadows, where sixth seed Aryna Sabalenka awaits her.
While Collins is yet to pick up a win in three matches against Sabalenka, she stated at a press conference that she’s not looking for revenge against any player. Rather, she is happy and grateful to have made it through to the pre-quarterfinals.
“I’m not really a vengeful person. I just kind of come out here and do my best. Love to compete. Any win is a bonus for me. Lucky to be here with a lot of the challenges I faced. I’m motivated from within. I just do the best that I can. I work my tail off. I’ve got an incredible work ethic. I think that that comes out a lot in my performances,” she said.
“She’s a very powerful player, she really exposes people’s weaknesses” – Danielle Collins on Aryna Sabalenka
Nineteenth seed Danielle Collins has advanced to the fourth round of the US Open for the first time in her career. She joins her compatriots Jessica Pegula, Coco Gauff, and Alison Riske-Amritraj in the Round of 16.
In her third-round contest with Alize Cornet, Collins was not broken even once, while firing 52 winners to 29 unforced errors. Cornet, on the other hand, hit 17 winners and registered just nine unforced errors.
“I was really impressed with the quality of serving on both sides. One of the things that Alize does on her serve is she mixes her targets and has incredible placement. Even if it’s not coming in at a really, really high speed, she’s placing it so close to the lines, sometimes it skids. That was happening quite a bit,” Collins said.
“She was getting some free points off her serve like I was. It was kind of like she was holding, I was holding. Went to battle in the tiebreak. Luckily got a couple points on her serve. That gave me some confidence. Was able to close it out. It was really, really close, especially the second set all the way through. But really the first set, too, was close in the same way,” she added.
Sabalenka, her next opponent, has won all three of their meetings to date, with two of those coming at the US Open – in the first round in 2018 and the third round last year. The Belarusian has also lost just one set against Collins across all three matches. The Word No. 19 American is well aware of what awaits her in the next round.
“Yeah, we played a battle here a couple years ago. It was three sets. We’ve played many battles over the years. I don’t think I’ve ever won against Aryna. I’ll definitely have a lot of information to look at and some stats, get a chance to watch her play a little bit on film tomorrow,” she said.
“So, yeah, just kind of have to see again. She’s a very powerful player. She really exposes people’s weaknesses. But I think with how I’m playing, hopefully I can just have that laser focus and use my strengths, yeah, just keep going for it,” she added.