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Australian Open 2024 results: Iga Swiatek beats Danielle Collins, Jessica Pegula out

Australian Open 2024 results: Iga Swiatek beats Danielle Collins, Jessica Pegula out

Swiatek, 22, has emerged as the WTA Tour’s dominant player in the past two years, leading the world rankings for most of that time and adding three more majors to her tally.

Three of her four Grand Slam triumphs have come on the French Open clay, with the other on the US Open hard courts, but her attempt to add the Australian Open title this year has been complicated by a tough draw.

After beating 2020 champion Sofia Kenin in the first round, she faced another stern test against the uncompromising Collins, a finalist at Melbourne Park in 2022.

The American has dropped to 62nd in the world but brought her best game to unsettle Swiatek with her power.

Using her devastating backhand to great effect, Collins looked set to inflict Swiatek’s earliest exit at a Grand Slam since the 2019 US Open.

However, Collins was unable to keep her nerve as the pressure of the finishing line approaching overwhelmed her.

Looking tight, she lost serve for 4-2, could not convert three break points the next game and lost her serve again as Swiatek turned the deficit into a 5-4 advantage.

Swiatek held two match points at 15-40 – missing one with a volley into the net and the other with a backhand from the baseline – but was given a third opportunity when Collins dragged a cross-court backhand way wide.

This time she took it. Scrambling to reach a dropshot after a long rally, she pushed a backhand down the line and celebrated extending her winning streak to 18 matches.

Afterwards, 30-year-old Collins revealed she intends for this season to be the final one of her career.

“I’m kind of at the end of my career and they [defeats] don’t sting quite as much, to be honest,” she said.

“I don’t really know exactly when, but this will be my last season and I’m really looking forward to that.”

Swiatek will face 19-year-old Linda Noskova in the third round, after the Czech beat American McCartney Kessler 6-3 1-6 6-4.

Elsewhere on Thursday, former US Open champion Sloane Stephens knocked out Russian 14th seed Daria Kasatkina with a 4-6 6-3 6-3 victory, while fellow American Emma Navarro beat Italy’s Elisabetta Cocciaretto by the same scoreline.

Ukrainian 19th seed Elina Svitolina needed just 65 minutes to wrap up a 6-1 6-3 win over Bulgaria’s Viktoriya Tomova.

Australian hope Ajla Tomljanovic took 11th seed Jelena Ostapenko to a deciding set, but the Latvian prevailed 6-0 3-6 6-4, while two-time winner Victoria Azarenka of Belarus beat Denmark’s Clara Tauson 6-4 3-6 6-2.

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at BBC Sport…