Can Ashleigh Barty take down the in-form Danielle Collins and move into her first final of the season? The world No. 1 faces the American in the Adelaide semis on Friday.
Barty vs Collins is live from Adelaide on Friday from 6:30pm local time/ 8:00am GMT
After a surprise defeat to Jennifer Brady in her opening match of the season in Brisbane last week, world No. 1, Barty has registered her first wins of the new campaign in Adelaide, beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Marketa Vondrousova to move into her first final of the season.
She was pushed hard by the hard-hitting Pavlyuchenkova, who took the opening set, but Barty fought back to complete a 4-6 6-3 7-5 victory in just over two hours to get off the mark in 2020. She followed that with a 6-3 6-3 quarter final win over Vondrousova. In a repeat of last year’s French Open final, Barty was once again in dominant form, winning over 60% of points on both her first and second serves.
She saved six of seven break points, but four of those break points came in the eighth game of the second set, with the Aussie already up by a set and a break and in command of the tie. Barty broke the Vondrousova serve four times, and needed only an hour and 20 minutes to wrap up her fourth consecutive straight-sets victory over the Czech left-hander.
One of those wins was in the aforementioned Roland Garros final in one of the many highlights of a terrific 2019 for the 23-year-old Australia. She also won titles in Miami, Birmingham and the WTA Finals in Singapore, and of course, grabbed the prestigious season-ending world No. 1 ranking.
She will be looking to consolidate on her position this season, and a first final of the year in Adelaide will be very much in order. The bang in form Collins is out to stop the No. 1 seed.
Danielle Collins’ rampaging start to the season has come out of nowhere, considering where she was at the end of last season.
Before the start of this year, Collins had not won consecutive tour-level matches since Wimbledon, and had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis towards the end of 2019. However, she has cast aside all of that disappointment and charged out of the blocks this year.
Collins was beaten by Madison Keys in last week’s Brisbane quarter finals, but that was not before she trounced Elina Svitolina 6-1 6-1 and blew away Yulia Putintseva 6-1 6-0. She has continued in a similar vein in Adelaide, opening with a 6-3 6-2 victory over Aliaksandra Sasnovich, before breezing past top-15 stars Sofia Kenin and Belinda Bencic in identical 6-3 6-1 score lines.
She reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open last year, continuing her sharp rise from the previous campaign, when she rocketed from 160th to 36th. Collins moved up to a career-high 23rd after the 2019 Australian Open, but she couldn’t not match that level in the remainder of the year, with her only other tour-level quarter final coming in Charleston. She revealed in October that she had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
The 25-year-old has looked in good health so far this season, which is fantastic to see, and she will seek her first ever tour-level final when she goes up against the No. 1 player in the world in Adelaide on Friday.
Barty defeated Collins in both of their two previous meetings, on the clay of Madrid and Roland Garros in 2019; the top seed will have to perform very close to her very best if she is to complete the hat-trick of wins over the American on Friday.