Victoria Azarenka's tournament came to an abrupt end at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic Friday. The two-time Grand Slam champion suffered an injury during the second set that caused her to retire giving Danielle Collins the victory 6-7(4), 3-0 on Stadium Court at the San Jose State Tennis Center.
This would be a first time meeting for the two and another lopsided matchup for the Belorussian. The 29-year-old had a quick finish to her second-round match handing Anna Blinkova just one game win in her straight sets victory. With two wins under her belt, Azarenka looked to achieve her second title at the tournament in eight years.
Collins hasn’t faced anyone strong so far but has a record of defeating strong players so far this season. She took down Monica Puig followed by Venus Williams making them her biggest careers wins to date. With Azarenka still looking for consistency, the 24-year-old was set to gain a second win over a former world number one.
The Belorussian got things started with a break before consolidating it with a hold of serve in the second. Collins nearly had the start she wanted to earn a serve to love chance but let Azarenka come back to force deuce. She caught a couple of breaks before putting the game away herself to get on the board. Azarenka gained another to keep the score to her favor but Collins wasn’t going to give a large amount of room away.
She played the next three games fighting every point where they each held serve despite playing on deuce where the sixth became of the longest of the set. Collins put herself a game down after seven but watched Azarenka continue her grip on serve to go up 5-3. The American continued to battle on her service games but got through to keep the former world number one in reach. She levelled up at the hands of Azarenka who committed too many unforced errors in the tenth.
The opportunity for the 24-year-old was in her hands when serving the 11th but she fell behind with some mistakes of her own from the second serve. It put Azarenka back in position to close things out. She couldn’t as Collins earned free points on simple mistakes from the Belorussian that forced a tiebreak to take place. Azarenka took a 2-0 lead frustrating Collins who let it out on the crowd for interrupting play.
She gained a point right after but trailed a point down after five points. Azarenka found a way to deal with the issues winning key points that opened the margin for herself. She put Collins down on her sixth set point attempt to complete the first in 1 hour and 12 minutes. While the goal to lead was achieved, her second serve and six blown set points stood out as the issue to remedy going into the second.
Before that could be done, Azarenka suffered a leg injury that stopped play during the first game, as the umpire came down to check out her status the Belorussian voiced her willingness to continue play. Collins resulted in breaking in the opening game before consolidating it with a hold of serve allowing Azarenka a single point.
The next two games went swiftly in Collins' favor where the 29-year-old once again winced in pain. Before the fourth could be played, the Belorussian called for the trainer which soon brought out the doctor to check out an issue with her back. After several minutes went by, the 2010 champion called it quits after 1 hour and 36 minutes.
"It's never fun winning a match like that and hopefully she can get back on that horse very soon," Collins said during her press conference. She'll prepare for Saturday night's match that will have her facing the winner between Maria Sakkari or Venus Williams in the semifinals. "I think it would be great to play Venus again and it's always fun playing a legend but ill be out there scouting their match."Published 04 Aug 2018, 10:03 IST