Danielle Collins tops Elena Rybakina for Miami Open title

League: Tennis

Posted on: 31 Mar, 2024 at 12:45 AM

Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Unseeded Danielle Collins beat fourth-seeded Elena Rybakina 7-5, 6-3 to win the Miami Open on Saturday.

Collins, in her final season on tour, captured her third career WTA singles title, beating Rybakina in 2 hours, 2 minutes. The 30-year-old and St. Petersburg Fla., native won her first title at any level since 2021.

"To the fans, I've played a lot of tennis, and I've played a few finals, but nothing close to this," said Collins, who is the second unseeded woman to capture the Miami Open.

Collins saved 10 of 11 break points in the 1000-level final. Overall, she won her final 14 sets of the tournament after losing the first in her opening-round match against Bernarda Pera.

Collins and Rybakina stayed on serve during the first 11 games of the match. Rybakina missed out on four break-point chances late as Collins took a 4-3 lead.

Rybakina, who leads the WTA in aces this season, gave up three set points to Collins at 6-5 and the American eventually won the first set.

Collins, who became the lowest-ranked woman (No. 53) to win the Miami Open, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second set. She eventually led 5-3 and finally wrapped up the biggest title of her career on her fourth championship point.

Collins, who secured her fifth career win over a top 5 player, sealed the victory on a backhand crosscourt winner.

"To play in my home state, at a tournament I used to watch on TV as a kid -- my dad said, ‘If you're not playing in the tournament you're not going,' so I had to work really hard to get here," said Collins, who is expected to move up to No. 22 when the new rankings release Monday. "And to come out here and feel like I'm playing in front of thousands of my best friends, and everybody that was pushing me to get over this hurdle today, it just meant the world.

"I was getting very emotional, and I had to keep telling myself, ‘Leave those emotions in the locker room and wait until after the match!' It was just an incredible environment. I've never experienced anything like it."

Collins, who was runner-up in the 2022 Australian Open, is the first American to win the Miami Open since Sloane Stephens won in 2018

--Field Level Media