By Todd Kortemeier | Jan. 24, 2019, 12:14 a.m. (ET)
Danielle Collins celebrates a point in her women's singles semifinal match against Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic at the 2019 Australian Open on Jan. 24, 2019 in Melbourne.

 

The world may not have known much about Danielle Collins before the 2019 Australian Open. But after getting to know her on a remarkable run to the semifinals, they could not be surprised to see she went down fighting.

The proudly feisty and competitive Collins was on defense most of the night against eighth-seeded Petra Kvitova, losing an intense 6-7(2), 0-6 match. Kvitova’s low, powerful shots troubled Collins all day, backing her up and taking power and accuracy off her shots.

On a brutally hot day in Melbourne with temperatures over 100 degrees, the roof at Rod Laver Arena was closed with the first set at four games apiece with each player having a break point. The set remained on serve and headed to a tiebreak, and what had been a fairly even match began to turn Kvitova’s way. The Czech dominated to take the set.

In the first game of the second set, Collins had her first run-in with umpire Carlos Ramos after the let serve technology was beeping during her serve. Her frustration was exacerbated by Kvitova’s continued stellar play, ultimately falling 0-6. Kvitova did not face a single break point.

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While the fiery Collins will no doubt be disappointed, it was an impressive run for a player who had never won a Grand Slam singles match. She scored upsets over No. 14 Julia Goerges in the first round, No. 19 Caroline Garcia in the third round and a stunning 6-0, 6-2 domination of No. 2 Angelique Kerber to make the quarterfinals. She then knocked off Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to set up the meeting with Kvitova.

The 25-year-old from St. Petersburg, Florida, was a star at the University of Virginia where she was a two-time national champion. Not only had she never won a Grand Slam match prior to taking the court in Melbourne, she had also never played in the Australian Open.

“I may not have won a Grand Slam match before this, but I’ve got to tell you, I think it’s going to keep happening,” Collins said in an on-court interview after the win over Kerber. “I hope to have many more of these.”

Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.