After overcoming several challenges throughout her career in tennis, Danielle Collins is preparing for her biggest match to date, facing top seed Ash Barty in the 2022 Australian Open final.
Collins, 28, defeated Iga Świątek 6-4, 6-1 in the semifinals and advanced to compete against the world No. 1 Barty in her first grand slam final.
Collins previously made it to the semifinals at the 2019 Australian Open, but was defeated by Petra Kvitová, who ended up losing to Naomi Osaka in the final.
“To play against the No. 1 player in the world in her home country, I think it’s going to be really spectacular,” Collins said during her on-court interview.
Collins has faced Barty four times in her career and trails the Australian tennis player 3-1 in their matchups. She won her first bout against Barty at the 2021 Adelaide International.
The Sporting News has you covered with everything to know about the American tennis star ahead of the final match on Saturday.
Who is Danielle Collins?
Born in St. Petersburg, Fla., Collins started playing tennis at age 3. After playing one year of college tennis at Florida, she transferred to Virginia and won the NCAA singles title in 2014 and 2016. At the conclusion of her time in Charlottesville, Collins was the top-ranked collegiate player in the sport, and she broke into the top 50 on the WTA Tour in 2018.
Collins has battled through several health complications throughout her career. Following her 2019 run to the Australian Open semifinals, she began treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. The condition can damage a wide variety of body systems, including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels, per the Mayo Clinic.
During her last matchup against Świątek in the 2021 Adelaide International tournament, Collins was forced to prematurely retire due to severe back pain. She underwent multiple consultations for severe abdominal pain and pelvic cramping, then had emergency surgery to treat endometriosis. The painful condition is described as a disorder in which tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus, according to the Mayo Clinic.
“It’s something that sometimes when we’re dealing with these painful moments, you learn to accept it,” Collins told reporters during a press conference after her semifinal victory. “For me, things started to become too abnormal and really unhealthy and it was causing a lot of havoc for me around that time.”
Danielle Collins’ path to the Australian Open final
The 27th-seeded Collins first overcame fellow American Caroline Dolehide 6-1, 6-3 in straight sets. In the second round, she beat Ana Konjuh 6-4, 6-3. She survived a scare against Clara Tauson in the third round and came from behind to win 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.
Collins took down Elise Mertens 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the fourth round and defeated Alizé Cornet 7-6, 5-1 in the quarterfinals before her 6-4, 6-1 defeat of Iga Świątek in the semis.
Danielle Collins’ career record
Collins started her professional career at 22 in 2016 after winning two NCAA titles at Virginia.
Entering the final, she holds an 88-59 career record on the WTA Tour, including a 26-16 mark in Grand Slams.
Her two career WTA titles came last season, at San Jose and Palermo. Those were also her only career appearances in a tournament final.
Whatever happens in the final, Collins – currently ranked 30th in the world – is projected to move into the WTA’s top 10 next week. Her best career ranking to date is 23rd, which she acheived in 2019.