Feisty American Collins humbles Kerber for AO quarters spot

Published by AAP

American Danielle Collins celebrates during her career-best victory over the 2016 Australian Open champion.
The world No.35 had not won a Grand Slam match in five previous attempts before this week, but Collins needed just 56 minutes to brush aside second seed Kerber.

Fearless American upstart Danielle Collins is embracing life on the big stage after stunning Angelique Kerber to win through to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.

Having not won a Grand Slam match in five previous attempts before lobbing at Melbourne Park, the unseeded Collins needed just 56 minutes to brush aside second seed Kerber 6-0 6-2 in one of the biggest upsets of the tournament.

Collins smacked 29 winners against Kerber – a three-time major winner who had been considered a big chance of lifting the Australian Open trophy for a second time.

“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,” the feisty 25-year-old declared.

Showing no signs of being intimidated by an increasingly vocal Kerber, Collins roared after hitting a drop-shot winner to curb the German’s momentum.

“I love making it kind of a war,” she said.

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“If somebody wants to get in my face on my unforced errors, I have no problem getting right back at them and making it a feisty match.”

Collins has had a meteoric rise up the world rankings, breaking into the Top 40 last season after starting the year 136.

From humble beginnings in Florida, Collins – the daughter of a landscaper and a preschool teacher – forged a relatively unusual path to the elite ranks, forgoing the junior circuit and playing college tennis at the University of Virginia.

“I think going to college helped me develop myself as a person,” Collins said.

“I really know who I am; the type of person I am; what I want; what I want to do with my life; what I want to do with my tennis.

“I have other interests and passions aside from tennis. I’m able to relax a little bit more maybe than some other people because they’ve kind of just been doing tennis their whole life, haven’t really ventured out much.”

Collins will meet countrywoman and fifth seed Sloane Stephens or Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for a spot in the final four.

Either way, coach Mat Cloer isn’t expecting Collins to wilt under the bright lights.

“She loves it. Maybe she’s made for it,” Cloer said. “She really enjoys the moment and I think she’s going to keep relishing opportunities. Hopefully, she keeps playing good tennis and continues to play on bigger stages.”

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