WILL EVANS’ daily preview serves up Australian Open tips for the second women’s semi-final final between former French Open champ Iga Swiatek and Danielle Collins, who is vying for her first Grand Slam final berth.
History: Played 1: Swiatek 1 V Collins 0
Last meeting: Adelaide International, 2021: Swiatek d Collins 6-2 3-0 (ret)
Final Thoughts: The lion’s share of the attention is on Ash Barty’s clash with Madison Keys as she bids to win her home Grand Slam. But Iga Swiatek and Danielle Collins will square off in another absorbing semi-final on Thursday night.
Collins enjoyed a breakout semi-final run at the Australian Open in 2019, eventually losing to Petra Kvitova. She had only made it past the third round of a major one other time, reaching the 2020 French Open quarters – until now.
The 28-year-old breezed past Caroline Dolehide and Ana Konjuh in straight sets, before coming from a set down to beat Clara Tauson and 16th seed Elise Mertens. Collins, the 27th seed, stepped up a gear with a 7-5 6-1 quarter-final victory over in-form veteran Alize Cornet.
Collins has overcome health and injury issues to produce some of the best tennis of her career. A gritty, unflappable character, the American’s groundstrokes and aggressive pursuit of winners has been a feature of her campaign in Melbourne.
Swiatek learns resolve
Seventh seed Swiatek has not quite lived up to the blistering promise she showed in winning the 2020 French Open without dropping a set. But she is back in a Grand Slam semi for the second time after navigating some tough matches at Melbourne Park.
The 20-year-old was in commanding touch as she disposed of Heather Dart, Rebecca Peterson and 25th seed Daria Kasatkina – dropping just 12 games in total. But she had to claw back from a set down to eliminate Soranna Cirstea and fairytale stalwart Kaia Kanepi.
Those matches have seemingly signalled growth in Swiatek’s game and character: an ability to ride out difficult periods and regain momentum to power to victory.
Her serve has lacked consistency at times and will need to be at its best to overcome the dogged Collins.
Swiatek took out her only previous clash with Collins at last year’s Adelaide International. She was up 6-2 3-0 in the quarter-final encounter when Collins retired.
Collins will be patient and is an expert at seizing any opportunities her opponent affords her. But there’s a strong sense that Swiatek’s powerhouse best will be too good for Collins. I’m backing her to produce somewhere near that level as the stakes raise.