Danielle Collins wins, sets up
all-U.S. French Open QF vs. Kenin
Arthur Kapetanakis | October 6, 2020
Danielle Collins gutted out a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over Ons Jabeur on Tuesday to continue her career-best run at Roland Garros. The 26-year-old came into the tournament with a 1-2 record in Paris, but is now through to her second career Grand Slam quarterfinal, less than two years after her shock semifinal run at the 2019 Australian Open.
Collins’ third three-set win of the fortnight guarantees an American semifinalist on the red clay; she will play compatriot and former Fed Cup teammate Sofia Kenin on Wednesday for a spot in the final four.
Originally scheduled for Monday, the start of the fourth-round contest was delayed a day by rain. Nonetheless, Collins came out firing and jumped out to a 6-4, 3-0 lead on Court Philippe-Chatrier, including winning 12 of the first 13 points in the second set. ADVERTISEMENT From there, Jabeur unsettled the American with some drop shots to start a run of five straight games and eventually force a third set.
Collins again led in the decider, 4-2, before the No. 30 seed battled back to 4-all. But with Jabeur serving to stay alive, a deep, defensive Collins return drew an error on match point, sending the American to the floor in celebration.
FIghting against the cold and heavy conditions in Paris, in addition to Jabeur’s unique game, Collins relied on her positive attitude to see her through.
“I think that's probably 80 percent of the success behind winning my matches, honestly,” she said in her post-match presser. “I think I have some good tennis skills, but I think when I have a positive attitude on court and I'm getting fired up and I'm showing positive energy, I think that helps me perform my best.
"I think it helps me, especially in the tough situations, when it could be easy to be negative or I could kind of fall into little slumps here and there, and I'm still trying to show positive energy, still trying to say, ‘Come on,’ still trying to be the best that I can be.”
Collins works on that with a sports psychologist, as well as with her new coach, Nicholas Almagro. The pair linked up just before Roland Garros. The Spaniard, himself a three-time French Open quarterfinalist and a former ATP Top 10 player, has already made a major impact, according to Collins.
“I think we relate to each other a lot, and he’s able to use his experiences to try to make me a better player,” she said. “We have been focusing a lot on my mental strength on the court and using that as a weapon.”
The Collins-Kenin quarterfinal is second on Chatrier on Wednesday. Collins is 3-0 lifetime against Kenin, with two straight-sets wins in 2017 and another routine victory in Adelaide, Australia, this January. Kenin, like Collins, has won a trio of three-setters on her way to the quarters, including against France's Fiona Ferro in the Round of 16.
“We’ve had some great matches in the past, and she’s obviously had a lot of success this year, " Collins said of her next opponent. “She's playing some really great tennis here, so I know that it’s going to be another battle and another fun match.”
Team USA will also feature in a pair of women’s doubles quarterfinals Wednesday on Court Suzanne-Lenglen. The all-U.S duo of Asia Muhammad and Jessica Pegula will take on American Nicole Melichar and Poland’s Iga Swiatek, while former Arizona State star Desirae Krawczyk will team with Chile’s Alexa Guarachi against the Japanese team of Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara.
In men’s doubles, Tommy Paul and Nicholas Monroe saw their quarterfinal run ended on Tuesday by US Open finalists and No. 9 seeds Nikola Mektic and Wesley Koolhof.