French Open: Williams sees off Collins with fierce second-set fightback

By Sports Desk June 04, 2021

Serena Williams produced an emphatic fightback in the second set to eliminate Danielle Collins 6-4 6-4 and secure a spot in the last 16 of the French Open.

While the first set provided few difficulties for the 23-time grand slam winner, she found herself trailing 4-1 in the second as Collins threatened to force a decider.

But Williams channelled her frustrations impressively, and far better than her opponent, with the 39-year-old setting up a fourth-round clash with Elena Rybakina.

Williams might have had an early advantage as some brutal returns gave her three break points in just the second game of the match, but Collins came back to hold.

The first break eventually came in the seventh game of the contest, Williams squeezing a shot over after a drop shot, then guiding a return to the back of the court with Collins in no position to respond.

Although a second break in the first set eluded Williams, she sealed the set on her serve soon after.

The second set saw Collins' serve broken in the first game, but her response was emphatic, producing back-to-back breaks of her own.

That had Collins in control of the set at 3-1 up, with Williams' frustration evident at the end of almost every point and not helped by her five double faults, one of which gifted away a second break.

Williams began to use that anger for good as she played even more aggressively.

Initially Collins rode the punches well, playing Williams impressively as she forced the seventh seed out wide and then read her cross-court return to seal the fifth game to love and a 4-1 lead.

But Collins quickly fell apart, Williams winning five games on the trot as she came back from a precarious position to seal her progression, showing commendable mental fortitude along the way.


DATA SLAM: GO BIG OR GO HOME

It is fair to say Williams' serving was a little wild at times – she was looking to be aggressive to put Collins on the back foot as early as possible. However, it left her with as many double faults as aces, five apiece. Nevertheless, the three-time French Open champion got the job done, with a huge serve ultimately sealing the victory.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Williams – 22/20

Collins – 18/21

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Williams – 5/5

Collins – 1/3

BREAK POINTS WON

Williams – 4/8

Collins – 2/4

Related items

  • Nakashima takes down top seed Raonic at Atlanta Open Nakashima takes down top seed Raonic at Atlanta Open

    Top seed Milos Raonic saw his stay at the Atlanta Open come to an early end with a three-set defeat to American Brandon Nakashima on Wednesday. 

    The 19-year-old Californian Nakashima, ranked 115th in the world, prevailed 5-7 6-3 7-6 (7-4) over world number 22 Raonic in their first meeting. 

    The big-serving Canadian had 10 double faults to go with his 27 aces, while Nakashima did not commit one double fault and managed 13 aces. 

    It was the latest in a string of recent wins over established players for Nakashima, who stunned Sam Querrey and John Isner last week at Los Cabos before falling to Cameron Norrie in the final. 

    Nakashima next faces Australia's Jordan Thompson, who beat Peter Gojowczyk of Germany 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals. 

    In the other half of the draw, fifth seed Taylor Fritz rallied to defeat fellow American Steve Johnson 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-1 in a rematch of a quarter-final at Los Cabos, also won by Fritz. 

    Fritz will face countryman Reilly Opelka, who outlasted Bjorn Fratangelo 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-4). The 6-foot-11 Opelka pounded 25 aces to just three double faults, winning 84 per cent of his service points. 

  • Martinez shocks Bautista Agut at Generali Open Martinez shocks Bautista Agut at Generali Open

    World number 16 Roberto Bautista Agut crashed out in the second round as the other favourites for the Generali Open battled through.

    Bautista Agut lost the first set to Spanish compatriot Pablo Martinez in Kitzbuhel, Austria, and could not complete a comeback despite forcing a decider as he lost 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 7-5.

    Top seed Casper Ruud, who won last week in Gstaad to claim his third ATP Tour crown of 2021 and fourth in total, came from 4-2 down in the first set to win 7-5 5-7 6-4 against Mario Vilella Martinez.

    Third seed Filip Krajinovic survived a second-set scare to beat Carlos Taberner 6-3 2-6 6-4.

    Arthur Rinderknech, who dispatched of fifth seed Federico Delbonis on Tuesday, awaits Krajinovic in the next round.

    The other clash on Wednesday saw Sweden's Mikael Ymer cruise past home favourite Alexander Erler 6-2 6-3 to secure a quarter-final berth.

    Ymer will now face the thankless task of challenging 22-year-old Ruud for a spot in the semi-finals.

  • Tokyo Olympics: Djokovic thankful for delayed start time in 'draining' conditions Tokyo Olympics: Djokovic thankful for delayed start time in 'draining' conditions

    Novak Djokovic has welcomed the International Tennis Federation's (ITF) decision to delay the start of matches until 3:00pm (local time) at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday.

    The world number one has cruised through to the quarter-finals, where he will meet home favourite Kei Nishikori, but he – along with many others – had complained of heat and humidity causing problems due to contests starting too early.

    That decision has come after world number two Daniil Medvedev struggled with conditions as he was forced to use two medical timeouts on Wednesday to cope with the heat and subsequently asked chair umpire Carlos Ramos, per ESPN, "If I die, are you going to be responsible?"

    The pushback now means the majority of the games in the closing stages will be played in slightly cooler conditions in order to protect player welfare amid growing health concerns.

    Speaking after a 6-3 6-4 mixed doubles win with Nina Stojanovic against Brazil's Luisa Stefani and Marcelo Melo, the Serbian expressed gratitude for the ITF's decision, though he felt it should have come earlier.

    "It was nice news to receive," Djokovic said. "It's better than starting at 11:00am. It's not just in my opinion. I've spoken to six out of eight quarter-finalists in men's singles and everyone is in favour of starting later because the conditions are really brutal.

    "It's very good [news] because you don't want to see situations like what we saw today with Paula Badosa [who retired after the first set].

    "I've played tennis now professionally for 20 years, and I've never faced these kind of conditions in my entire life on a consecutive daily basis.

    "I did experience certain similar days, one day in Miami or New York, or sometimes it happens here and there, but it's one or two days, and then it passes. Here is every single day. So, it's really draining players' energy, and you just don't feel yourself."

    After gymnast Simone Biles' withdrawal to protect her mental health, Djokovic outlined the pressures that come with professional sport, too.

    "Pressure is a privilege, my friend. Without pressure, there is no professional sport," he continued.

    "If you are aiming to be at the top of the game, you better start learning how to deal with pressure and how to cope with those moments on the court, but also off the court.

    "I've developed the mechanism on how to deal with it in such a way that it will not pose a distraction to me. It will not wear me down. I feel I have enough experience to know myself how to step on the court and play my best tennis.”

    Djokovic, who was unsure if he had ever played in an "official" mixed doubles competition, and Stojanovic will now face Germany's Laura Siegemund and Kevin Krawietz in the quarter-final.

    Despite limited experience, the six-time Wimbledon winner enjoyed the outing and was surprised how quickly he and Stojanovic understood each other's games.

    "We did not chat about the tactics too much," the 34-year-old added. "We know each other, but we've never really played in the opposite ends of the net, or the same side of the net, so it was amazing how well we clicked from the beginning."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.