Misc Tennis

Top-ranked Swiatek escapes with a narrow win over 2022 runner-up Collins at Australian Open

Storm Sanders was Australia’s hero after she won the first singles rubber before returning for the deciding doubles match alongside 38-year-old Samantha Stosur.

Poland’s Iga Swiatek hits a return against USA’s Danielle Collins during their women’s singles match on day five of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 18, 2024.
| Photo Credit: AFP

Top-ranked Iga Swiatek rallied from 4-1 down in the third set to escape with a narrow 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win over 2022 runner-up Collins on January 18 and advance to the third round of the Australian Open.

In a mometum-swinging match, Swiatek was on top after recovering an early break and leading by a set and a break before the American player rallied to take the second set and race to a 4-1 lead with two service breaks in the third.

Swiatek absorbed the sustained pressure from Collins’ powerful groundstrokes until she reversed the momentum on a match-winning five-game roll.

“Oh my God. I don’t even know,” Swiatek said of how she managed to come back. “Honestly, I was on the airport already. But I wanted to fight to the end.

“I’m really proud of myself, because it wasn’t easy.”

Swiatek had two match points at 15-40 in the last game but again Collins rallied, saving those and getting a game point with a trademark forehand winner deep to Swiatek’s backhand side.

But a forehand long and a backhand wide from Collins gave Swiatek a third match point and she made no mistake this time, finishing in 3 hours and 14 minutes with a deep backhand down the line.

In one of the tournament’s toughest opening brackets, both players beat past Australian Open champions in the first round; Swiatek beat 2020 champion Sofia Kenin and Collins overcame 2016 winner Angelique Kerber.

While Swiatek was doing her on-court TV interview. Collins was already en route to a news conference on site at Melbourne Park, in a much faster exit than usual.

“Yeah, I lost 6-4 in the third to one of the best players in the world,” Collins said. “And she played some great tennis. (I) left it all on the court.”

A heavy rain shower in the opening set forced organizers to close the roof on Rod Laver.

After winning three of the next four games to wrap up the first set, Swiatek was down 5-1 and 40-15 in the second. She saved five set points before Collins clinched it, forcing a deciding third set.

Swiatek, who lost to Collins in the semifinals here two years ago, was again down two service breaks and needed some help.

“She played just perfectly, but it would be hard for anybody to keep that level,” she said. “So I wanted to be ready when more mistakes are going to come from the…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at | The Hindu…