Danielle Collins celebrates at the Australian Open on Jan. 22, 2019 in Melbourne.
For someone who hadn’t won a Grand Slam match before 2019, the feisty Danielle Collins now seemingly can’t stop winning in a major.
The 25-year-old from St. Petersburg, Florida, surged into the Australian Open women’s semifinals with a 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia on Tuesday in Melbourne. Collins will face eighth-seeded Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic on Wednesday.
Before Melbourne, Collins was 0-5 in the other three Grand Slams — 0-3 in the US Open, 0-1 in the French Open and 0-1 at Wimbledon — and had not played in the Australian Open.
But the two-time NCAA champion at Virginia has made her mark in Melbourne with five wins and counting. She began to really turn heads with a dominant 6-0, 6-2 upset of second-seeded Angelique Kerber in the fourth round. Kerber, the German player who won the 2016 Australian Open and reached the semifinals last year, was the third seeded player Collins has beat in Melbourne, joining No. 19 Caroline Garcia of France in the third round and No. 14 Julia Goerges of Germany in the first round.
Against the 44th-ranked Pavlyuchenkova, the 35th-ranked Collins struggled with her service game early, being broken three times before finally holding to pull within 5-2. She also had four double faults in the first set, which was the first set she dropped in five matches in Melbourne.
In the second set, Collins seemed to get back on track, holding her first four service games and breaking Pavlyuchenkova on her second service game. Collins was up 5-2 before Pavlyuchenkova rallied back to tie it 5-5, but Collins then held and broke once more to even the match at a set apiece.
Collins came out on fire in the third set, serving the best she had all match, while breaking Pavlyuchenkova twice.
After making 10 unforced errors in the first set, Collins had just 10 more the rest of the match. Meanwhile, Pavlyuchenkova made 25 and dropped to 0-5 in Grand Slam quarterfinals.
Another American could join Collins in the women’s semifinals, as Serena Williams faces the Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova on Tuesday evening U.S. time.