Collins stuns Venus to reach Miami semis
QUALIFIER Danielle Collins overpowered her childhood idol Venus Williams 6-2, 6-3 in a stunning quarterfinal upset at the Miami Open on Wednesday.
Collins, belying her 93rd ranking, pounded winner after winner to beat fellow American Williams at her own game and set up a semifinal against French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.
Latvian sixth seed Ostapenko overpowered Ukrainian fourth seed Elina Svitolina in two tiebreaks to win 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5) in an afternoon match to reach the Miami semis for the first time.
The other semi will pit American 13th seed Sloane Stephens against unseeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.
Collins played with manic intensity against eighth seed Williams, repeatedly going for broke with groundstrokes that painted the lines and ran her opponent ragged around the Crandon Park center court in Key Biscayne, Florida.
“The first time I saw Venus in the locker room I nearly cried,” Collins said in an on-court interview.
“I’ve idolized her my whole life. She’s been my favorite player for forever and this is just a special moment I’m trying to wrap my head around it.”
In the men’s, Juan Martin del Potro was on course for a rare Sunshine Double when he outlasted Milos Raonic 5-7, 7-6 (1), 7-6 (3) in a marathon quarterfinal.
Fifth seed Del Potro, who claimed the Indian Wells title earlier this month, fed off the energy of a raucous crowd, wearing down the 20th-seeded Canadian in a match lasting almost three hours.
The result continued Del Potro’s hot streak, after he won in California 10 days ago, beating Roger Federer in a compelling three-set final to claim a maiden Masters 1000 title.
The 2009 US Open champion is back to playing some of his best tennis in years after battling serious left wrist injuries that required three surgeries and threatened to curtail his career.
He advances to face another big server, American John Isner, who overwhelmed South Korean Chung Hyeon 6-1, 6-4.