Swiatek Outlasts Kanepi, Sets Collins Australian SF Showdown; Barty v Keys

The semifinals are set at the Australian Open. Wednesday in Melbourne saw Danielle Collins and Iga Swiatek make the last four, but in different ways.

The boisterous American Collins overwhelmed Alize Cornet 7-5, 6-1 in 88 minutes. Collins and her powerful backhand couldn’t sustain a 5-2 first set led, but from 5-all the match turned for good in Collins’s favor.

“I think my serving has gotten a lot stronger,” said Collins who lost just three points on first serve and was broken ince. “I think my stamina on court has improved tremendously. I think just overall power and speed has improved. That’s something that I focused so much on over the last couple years. I think that’s probably the biggest difference to where I was, if I compare my semifinal run here in 2019.”

In her 63rd career Slam and after big wins over Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza, it was a first quarterfinal, so it was a positive week for the 32-year-old despite the loss.

“Definitely I think I lost some energy after this match against Halep,” said Cornet. “Emotionally it was a lot to handle. I’m not going to lie. But I felt pretty ready for this match today. Physically I recovered well. Mentally I was ready for another fight. I think the way Danielle was playing just didn’t help me at all. I couldn’t get into the rhythm. She was playing super fast on my forehand which I was not comfortable at all with.”

Into her second Australian semifinal, Collins will now face Iga Swiatek tonight. The Former French Open champion outlasted Kaia Kanepi 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-3 in just over three hours in the 90F+ Melbourne heat.

Early on, it was all Kanepi who used her power to go up a set and a quick break to start the second. The 20-year-old Swiatek, 16 years Kanepi’s junior, would dig in and break right back, and we had a match.

They would exchange a run of games before Swiatek outplayed the Estonian in the breaker. In the third, it was Swiatek always ahead, and though she double faulted herself out of serving the match, at the second time of asking she got it done to reach her second Slam semifinal.

“I’m pretty proud of myself, especially after matches like that, because coming back from losing the first set it’s a new thing for me. Being in the semifinal is great,” Swiatek said.

“I’m proud of myself that I can, I’m still able to, find solutions and actually think more on court on what to change because before it wasn’t that clear for me. I feel like it’s part of the work that we have been doing with Daria to control my emotions and actually focus on finding solutions.”

Swiatek got a retirement from Collins in Adelaide last year.

“I will approach it the same as any other match, really. I have played with some heavy hitters on this tournament already, so I feel like I’m feeling their game on my racquet pretty well,” Swiatek said.

“Two matches showed me that even in tough moments I can come back, and I have skills to win matches even when they are really hard.

“For sure it’s gonna be hard, and she’s in great shape, you can see that, and really like confident. But I also feel that way. I just hope it’s gonna be a good match.”

In the first night semi, world No. 1 Ash Barty is just four sets from the Australian Open title, but will face her third straight American opposition in Madison Keys. Keys has won her last 10 matches but lost to Barty two of three times, and Barty has no issues in blunting power players.

“I need to be able to find a balance, problem solve my way through it, try and work out a way to nullify her strengths and bring it back to my patterns if I can,” said Barty. “And understand it’s not always in my control. We accept that, move on, go again to the next point.

“I think it’s about being really clear in that process and just trying to do the best we can each and every point.”

THURSDAY AUSTRALIAN OPEN SCHEDULE
Rod Laver Arena
Day session – From 11am
A. Danilina/B. Haddad Maia v S. Aoyama/E. Shibahara 2
Not before 2:30pm
T. Kokkinakis/N. Kyrgios WC v M. Granollers/H. Zeballos 3
Not before 3:3pm
D. Alcott 1 v S. Schroder 2

Night session – From 7:30pm
A. Barty 1 v M. Keys
D. Collins 27 v I. Swiatek 7

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