Danielle Collins proves, that she is a guarantee of the spectacle full of emotions, drama and highest tennis quality. The American thrived in another epic three-set battle against Karolina Muchova. "Danimal" earned her place in Round 3 of Australian Open 2023 after two exciting battles with players who delivered a great performance next to the last year's finalist despite being unseeded. This time, it was Karolina Muchova, who fights back through the rankings after health issues. AO 2021 semifinalist, being curently ranked #133, showed the performance which gives hopes of quick come back to the wide top of WTA field.
26 years-old Czech player started the match well, breaking Collins early and creating two breaks advantage with a score 5-2. It was a slow start from Collins, who made a bunch of unforced errors and was not capitalizing on her best skills, missing a couple of backhand strikes which normally give her a big bunch of points. Once the first set could be considered as settled, Collins clicked the gear, calibrating her game better, winning 4 games in a row and moving fates of whole set into tiebreak. Muchova, who did not manage to serve out this set two times, started tiebreak in simiilar style to the first couple of games, being clinical on her shots and giving Collins chances to misfire a few shots. Despite losing all her advantage earlier, she prevailed to grab the first set with a dominant 7-1 win in a tiebreak.
Second set was a must-win for Collins, who defends 1300 ranking points from last year's AO final. Danielle, who is well known from her fierce and not slowing down her hand in difficult moments, raised up her game, winning this set without a trouble 6-2 with much more confident play on serve and using her weapons without a waste. It was only an introduction to the deciding set, which delivered a great display of tennis quality and kept all the fans in suspsense to the very end. Collins was the first who broke, but Muchova leveled the score in the middle of the set. "Danimal" was under immense pressure during whole the decider. Muchova who was serving first, and without a break difference on any side, Collins was serving to stay in the tournament in the later stages of this set. Both players held their nerves till the end, without any serious fear, which meaned, that the super tie-break will decide this epic match.
Decisive super tie-break game, the outcome which this amazing match deserved for, proved the world class of great American player. Collins proved, that despite a quality performance of Muchova, the match was fully on her racquet, dictating the terms of tie-break from the start. This game will not be remembered just with an epic win of Collins, but mostly because of the comical moment which happened when Collins scored her 7th point. Muchova played the ball too wide and Danielle threw the racquet raising her hands to the sky, celebrating the win. Collins was not aware of the rules of super tie-break, being convinced that the score 7-3 gives her victory. The match's referee needed to remind Danielle, that it's 10 point what she needs there. Fortunately, the American, as whole the audience in the stands, accepted that with a smile and not discouraged herself too much. She won it eventually 10-6, despite losing two points in a row after this hilarious moment. This time, she could celebrate the fully deserved win in the best WTA match of this year so far, with a few people who stayed till the end of it almost in the middle of the night, after 1:00 am local time.
"Danimal" admitted during her on-court interview, that the premature celebration moment embarassed her, but she was not aware of the super tie-break rule, playing it never before in her career. Collins was happy with her comeback to this match and very grateful for the crowd, who once again was on her side in Melbourne Park.
The outcomes of today's second round matches fulfill the predictions of big match-ups in the first quarter of main draw, as Collins will face Elena Rybakina in next round. Current Wimbledon champion gave away just 3 games for Kaja Juvan, setting up the match against Collins, which foreshadows an exciting show again. Winner of this pairing will probably face Iga Swiatek. World ranking's leader defeated Camila Osorio 6-2 6-3 in the opening match of the day's action of Rod Laver Arena. Swiatek's opponent will be the qualifier from Spain - Cristina Bucsa, who made an upset on Bianca Andreescu. US Open 2019 champion won the first set and had a matchpoint in Bucsa's service game in second one. The Canadian did not convert it, losing the tiebreak and another set with one break difference. 2-6 7-6 6-4 for the Spaniard, who reaches out the top 32 of Grand Slam for the first time in career.