Ash Barty's form at the Australian Open gives her deserved favourite status for the final, but in Danielle Collins one of the most dangerous players on the WTA Tour stands between her and history.

Barty has ruthlessly cruised into Saturday's final – the first Australian to reach the women's singles decider in 42 years – in brilliant form.

The two-time grand slam champion has lost just 21 games on her way to the showpiece, dropping serve just once.

Barty, the world number one, has appeared a class above at the year's first grand slam, where she is bidding to become the first Australian singles champion since Chris O'Neil in 1978. But she faces a huge test in the final against American 27th seed Collins, who is into her first major decider.

After three straight losses to Barty, two of which were on clay, Collins beat the Australian in straight sets in Adelaide last year in a sign of what she is capable of. Collins, who came from a break down in both sets in that win, possesses the power to threaten Barty on Rod Laver Arena.

Barty's variety – her serve, backhand slice and ability to construct points – has been much talked about in Melbourne this year.

Her 35 aces for the tournament are the second most, and exactly half of her first serves have been unreturned at the event, the highest percentage of any player in the women's draw. While Barty will try to unsettle Collins with her variety, the American is likely to respond with power. Collins has crushed 32 return winners at the event, a tally that is eight more than the next best.

Collins has also delivered 164 winners to 149 unforced errors, showcasing her aggressiveness, while Barty is at 106 and 96 respectively.

If Barty can extend the points, she will fancy her chances of a first Australian Open title. Collins has spent 10 hours, 37 minutes on court compared to Barty's 6:06, but shorter points would also suit the 2019 Australian Open semi-finalist.

Of points between zero and eight shots this tournament, Collins has won 458 of 809 (56.6 per cent), while Barty is 331-202 (62.1). But of rallies of nine-plus shots, Collins is 23-31 compared to Barty's 30-19 at the 2022 event.

Barty will be well aware of what Collins is capable of, but should have confidence her best is more than good enough to end Australia's long wait.

Ash Barty will plot a path to victory over Danielle Collins in the Australian Open final with the coach she describes as "a magician" and "a massive part of my life".

Australian home hero Barty has been a hot favourite for the title since before the first ball was struck in Melbourne, and to date she has justified all the hype and expectation.

Barty has dropped only 21 games across six matches to reach the final. Since 2000, only Serena Williams (16 games at the 2013 US Open and 19 at the 2012 US Open) and Venus Williams (20 games at Wimbledon in 2009) have lost fewer games to reach a grand slam final.

The last player to lose fewer games en route to the final in Australia was Monica Seles in 1993 (20 games), and she went on to beat Steffi Graf in a title match that went to three sets.

This is the level Barty is at now, as an established world number one and reigning Wimbledon champion, and a Collins victory on Saturday would be a major upset.

Yet Barty sees the 28-year-old American as a major threat, and the evidence of Collins' destructive performance against seventh seed Iga Swiatek in Thursday's second semi-final attests to that.

Collins won 6-4 6-1 and hit 27 winners and only 13 unforced errors, securing a place in her first slam final.

 

"She's an exceptional ball striker," said Barty. "She's someone who stands on the baseline and can hit all spots of the court from any position. I think the challenge is going to be trying to get her off balance.

"We'll do our homework and try to figure out a plan, and come Saturday try and execute. Danielle's done incredibly well here in Australia before. The way she's able to control the baseline and really take the game on, she's one of the most fierce competitors out here.

"She loves to get in your face and loves to take it on. It's going to be a challenge for me to try to neutralise as best as I can, but it's certainly nice to see her out here playing her best stuff."

Working out a strategy for the match, alongside Barty, will be veteran coach Craig Tyzzer. Barty trusts him implicitly to get the plan right.

"'Tyzze' is a magician; he's able to look at a lot of different matches, look at key matches, some recent and some old, and work our plan out in looking at different conditions and things like that," Barty said in a news conference after her thumping 6-1 6-3 semi-final win against Madison Keys.

"He's the man that does all the work. I just get to go out there and have fun with it."

Barty is understating her role there, but she has turned singles into a team game, relying on the likes of Tyzzer and mindset coach Ben Crowe to steer her on the right path.

She is attempting to become the first Australian player to win this title since Chris O'Neil in 1978, so the pressure is on, and it helps that those around her help to relieve the stress.

"Everyone is equally important. We're all equal, we all play our roles," Barty said. "The most amazing thing is we all communicate really well together and get along with each other and know when it's time to back off, relax, and then when it's time to switch on and really have a crack.

"'Tyzze' has been a massive part of my life since 2016. Before that, we'd done some work together, but the work he's done in setting up an amazing group of people around us has propelled my career for both of us. The experiences we've been able to share has been remarkable.

"It starts with my family, my sisters, obviously my professional team who contribute as much time and energy into my career and help me try and live out my dreams. I cannot thank them enough for the time and effort they put in to someone else.

"Being able to enjoy it all together and lighten up when we're not focused on the match is a really important part of that."

Barty's first serve has been a huge weapon, while Collins' return of the second serve has been a significant factor behind her run. So if Barty can land enough first serves on Saturday, that could prove telling. It has helped her to save 13 of 14 break points so far in this tournament.

Giving Collins a regular look at her second serve could be costly. Collins has won more points on the return of second serve (90) than any other woman in the tournament.

Barty ranks ninth on that list but is the leader on winning points when landing a first serve, achieving an 83 per cent success rate.

Danielle Collins is relishing a "spectacular" Australian Open showdown with home favourite Ash Barty after outclassing Iga Swiatek to reach her maiden grand slam final.

Collins was imperious in her second major semi-final on Rod Laver Arena, taking just an hour and 18 minutes to beat Swiatek 6-4 6-1.

The 28-year-old American's emphatic victory was her second over a top-10 opponent in a grand slam.

Collins was relentless as a struggling Swiatek had no answer to her aggressive approach, and the 27th seed will attempt to tear up the script by denying Barty a first Australian Open title on Saturday.

It was only last April that the Florida native underwent emergency surgery for endometriosis, an extremely painful condition in which tissue similar to that which lines the uterus grows outside of it.

Collins was also diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2018, but she has broken new ground for her career at Melbourne Park, dropping only two sets en route to the final.

She said in an on-court interview following the win over Swiatek: "It feels amazing. It's been such a journey, and it doesn't happen overnight. So many years of hard work and hours at an early age on court.

"Yesterday I was talking about all the early mornings my dad would get up with me and practise before school. It's just incredible to be on this stage and especially with the health challenges. I'm just so grateful, and I couldn't be happier."

Collins beat world number one Barty to reach the Adelaide International quarter-finals last year, having lost their previous three meetings, and the world number 30 will embrace such a big occasion this weekend.

She said: "We've had some incredible battles over the years. It's going to be really spectacular, with the energy the fans bring, whether they are for me or for my opponent.

"I think we're just so grateful after everything with COVID to have incredible energy and people here supporting us."

Ash Barty is ready for "one last crack" on Saturday when she will bid to become a first home winner of the Australian Open women's singles in over 40 years.

The 25-year-old Queenslander powered through to the third grand slam final of her career with a clinical 6-1 6-3 win over Madison Keys on Thursday.

She is 2-0 for her past two finals in the majors, taking titles at the 2019 French Open and last year at Wimbledon, and has looked an unstoppable force in Melbourne.

That theory will be put to the test by Danielle Collins, the 28-year-old big-hitting American who dismantled Iga Swiatek's game in the second semi-final to reach a first slam final.

Barty is dialled in and up for the challenge, looking to land the title that was last won by an Australian when Chris O'Neil triumphed at the 1978 tournament.

"It's fun, it's brilliant to be playing in the business end of your home slam," Barty said in a news conference.

"Saturday's going to be a new experience for me. So I'll go out there and embrace it, smile, try and do the best that I can, and whatever happens, happens.

"It's been an incredible January and incredible summer for us, and I'm really looking forward to having one last crack here, to really go out and enjoy it."

Wendy Turnbull was the last Australian finalist in the women's singles, way back in 1980, and the scale of the achievement in ending the long wait is not lost on Barty, who has already won doubles and singles titles this month at the Adelaide International.

"To be in the finals weekend of your home grand slam is what a lot of Aussie players dream of," she added.

This is modesty, but Barty is now a long-standing world number one, and therefore anything but lifting the trophy would be a disappointment at this stage, with 27th seed Collins looking to spring what would be a major upset.

Barty said she was able to "play the match on our terms" against Keys, pointing to her on-court effort being a collaboration with her support team.

 

Keys was outplayed and her reflection on the experience of tackling Barty was blunt.

"It's tough, it sucks. She's just playing incredibly well," Keys said. "You have a game plan in your head, but she's just executing everything so well.

"She's serving incredibly well, so you don't get any free points on that; her slice is coming in so much lower and deeper than it was in the past, so it's hard to do anything on that; and then you try to play to her forehand and she can open you up there.

"She's so locked in and focused. I've played her a handful of times and this is easily the best I think she's ever been playing."

Barty, who dabbled with cricket before focusing on tennis, appears to have a work-life balance that would be the envy of many, finding it no problem to unwind once she leaves the gates of Melbourne Park. Enjoying the early Australian dominance in the women's Ashes has only brightened her mood.

"It's pretty easy for me. When I'm not here, I don't think about the tennis too much," she said. "I've got the women's Ashes to watch, which is brilliant, read a book, few coffees, and we're set."

The young Barty who first visited the Australian Open before hitting her teenage years, for a training camp, would stand in awe of the player she has become.

"I'd have been only 11 or 12 years old," she recalled. "To see how professional it was and to see everybody going about their business was really eye-opening.

"My first taste of it was in the juniors and I loved it. Being able to get a taste of that kind of lit the flame. You wonder what you can achieve."

Danielle Collins will face home favourite Ash Barty in her first grand slam final at the Australian Open after dispatching Iga Swiatek in straight sets.

Playing in only her second major semi-final at the age of 28, an assured Collins rose to the occasion to win 6-4 6-1 in dominant fashion on Rod Laver Arena.

The 27th seed from the United States was beaten by Petra Kvitova in the last four of the first grand slam of the year at Melbourne Park three years ago, but she was not to be denied on this occasion.

Swiatek was unable to become the first Polish woman to reach the final of this tournament, struggling with her serve from the start as her bid to win a second grand slam title came to a halt and Collins booked a showdown with world number one Barty on Saturday.

Collins capitalised on a shaky start from the 2020 French Open champion, breaking when the seventh seed sprayed a forehand long after double-faulting in a poor first service game.

An aggressive Collins was a double-break up at 3-0 after her out-of-sorts opponent drilled a backhand wide, but Swiatek sprung into life, winning back-to-back games to reduce the deficit to 4-2.

Swiatek trailed 5-2 after being broken for a third time as she struggled with her second serve and although Collins failed to serve out the set at the first attempt, she made no mistake second time around after firing down two aces.

The Florida native was in the zone, staying on her feet during changeovers, and she struck another blow by breaking in the first game of the second set with a cross-court backhand winner.

Swiatek's frustration mounted as her service woes continued, Collins near flawless with her backhand a potent weapon as she broke again to lead 3-0.

The ice-cool world number 30 showed not a hint of nerves, finishing off the job with another break after earning two match points with a glorious forehand winner and forcing a backhand error from Swiatek to move into the final.

 

DATA SLAM: Imperious Collins a class apart as Swiatek is let down by her serve

While Collins was at her very best in a brilliant performance, Swiatek looked like she did not know what had hit her.

Swiatek won only three of the 21 points behind her tentative second serve after landing only 60 per cent of her first serves in, and the 20-year-old fell into the trap of feeding Collins' dangerous backhand far too often.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Collins – 27/13
Swiatek – 12/13

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Collins – 7/4
Swiatek – 1/4

BREAK POINTS WON

Collins – 6/10
Swiatek – 2/3

Alize Cornet "felt out of breath all the time" during her Australian Open quarter-final loss to Danielle Collins.

Collins was too good for Cornet in a 7-5 6-1 victory on Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday, reaching her second Australian Open semi-final in four years.

The American 27th seed hit 28 winners and 29 unforced errors in a strong performance against Cornet, who was playing her maiden major quarter-final.

Cornet said Collins, who will face Iga Swiatek in the last four, never allowed her to settle at Melbourne Park.

"Well, she's very powerful, even more than what I expected. Her ball is going really fast in the air and she takes the ball super early," the Frenchwoman said.

"All the time you feel really oppressed. I felt out of breath all the time. I couldn't, like, place my game. She just never let me do it, never gave me the time to do it. Yeah, she's impressive.

"But today she was pretty quiet. She didn't scream that much. When I see her playing on TV, sometimes she's yelling, 'C'mon.' She looks like a lion.

"Today I don't think I gave her enough battle so she could express herself."

Collins was playing her first quarter-final since the 2020 French Open and dictated from the outset against Cornet.

The 28-year-old hopes her experience in the latter stages of tournaments helps her late in the Australian Open.

"Yeah, I think now that I've made quarter-finals at French and semi-finals here before, I think I can use those experiences to certainly help me in the tight-pressure moments on court. I can use that to my advantage," Collins said.

"Last time I was here in the semi-finals I had never done that before. I've made some deeper runs in tournaments since then. Hopefully I can carry the confidence that I've gained over the last couple years and be able to use that to my advantage."

Danielle Collins ended Alize Cornet's dream run and reached her second Australian Open semi-final with a straight-sets win on Wednesday.

Collins moved into the last four in Melbourne for the second time in four years thanks to a 7-5 6-1 victory on Rod Laver Arena on Australia Day.

The American 27th seed, who will face either Iga Swiatek or Kaia Kanepi in the semi-finals, was in solid form in warm conditions.

Collins was the aggressor throughout against Cornet, who was playing her maiden grand slam quarter-final in her 63rd main-draw appearance.

 

It was Collins who dictated the majority of points from the baseline early and landed a break of serve in the fourth game.

Cornet saved three break points, but there was no denying Collins on her fourth opportunity, a powerful return setting up a simple volley winner for a 3-1 lead.

Collins looked the more comfortable in the warm weather, but Cornet hung in there and broke back when her opponent was trying to serve out the first set, the American's backhand letting her down with three unforced errors.

But Cornet dropped the first set when serving to stay in it, saving two set points but not a third – set up with a Collins forehand winner down the line – as she framed a forehand long.

Collins crushed a forehand return winner to break serve in the second game of the second set to take complete control of proceedings.

She broke to love to grab a 4-0 lead, cruising through the second set on her way to another last-four appearance in Melbourne.

 

DATA SLAM: Contender Collins finding consistency

The dangerous Collins has found consistency since the back end of last year.

She is now 31-7 since July 12, 2021 and will be hard to stop by either Swiatek or Kanepi in the semi-finals.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Collins – 28/29
Cornet – 11/17

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Collins – 5/4
Cornet – 2/0

BREAK POINTS WON
Collins – 4/9
Cornet – 1/3

France's Billie Jean King Cup defence ended at the hands of the Russian Tennis Federation, who will meet the United States in the semi-finals after Wednesday's play in Prague. 

Clara Burel put France on course for the 3-0 victory they needed to advance from Group A with a three-set victory over Ekaterina Alexandrova, but Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova outlasted Alize Cornet in the second rubber to ensure a new champion will be crowned. 

Pavlyuchenkova saved six of 10 break points and racked up an impressive 34 winners en route to a crucial 5-7 6-4 6-2 success against Cornet. 

"I'm so, so happy and so proud of myself because I think it was an incredible match. It was very good tennis but more importantly I think it was an amazing fighting spirit from both of us," said Pavlyuchenkova. 

"We were like two tigers. Nobody wanted to give the other anything and I think that's what matters. That's the sport we're playing." 

Veronika Kudermetova and Liudmila Samsonova comfortably defeated Cornet and Burel in the doubles to consign the reigning champions to a 2-1 defeat. 

The RTF will go up against the USA in the first semi-final, with the Americans comfortably seeing off Spain in the singles rubbers. 

Sloane Stephens bested Nuria Parrizas-Diaz 6-4 6-4 before Danielle Collins swept Sara Sorribes Tormo aside 6-1 6-0 in under an hour. 

Collins won 83 per cent of points behind her first serve and forced Sorribes Tormo into 24 errors during a resounding victory. 

Spain avoided a 3-0 defeat, though, with Aliona Bolsova and Rebeka Masarova beating Caroline Dolehide and CoCo Vandeweghe 6-3 6-4 in the doubles rubber. 

Petra Kvitova was one of a handful of seeded players to take the court at the Western and Southern Open on Monday and came away victorious against a past champion of the event. 

The 11th-seeded Kvitova defeated 2019 Western and Southern winner Madison Keys 7-5 6-4 on a rain-plagued opening day of main-draw play at the tournament outside Cincinnati, Ohio. 

The Czech saved eight of nine break points against her serve while breaking Keys three times, and that was enough to pull out the victory. 

Kvitova's countrywoman Barbora Krejcikova, the ninth seed, made her singles debut at the WTA 1000 event with a 6-3 6-2 rout of Daria Kasatkina. 

Fifteenth seed Elise Mertens also was a straight-sets winner, taking down Nadia Podoroska 6-3 6-4, while 13th seed Jennifer Brady defeated Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3 7-6 (7-3) in a match that finished shortly before 1 a.m. local time.

Though only Krejcikova was in action Monday, the field in Cincinnati includes nine of the top 10 players in the rankings, led by Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka in their first appearances since the Tokyo Olympics. 

In other matches on the first day of play, Heather Watson defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2 3-6 6-1, while Paula Badosa outlasted Petra Martic 4-6 6-4 7-6 (11-9) in a two-hour, 34-minute marathon. 

Yulia Putintseva breezed past Zhang Shuai 6-2 6-0, Jelena Ostapenko beat Tamara Zidansek 7-5 6-1 and Jil Teichmann downed Sorana Cirstea 6-2 6-0. 

Angelique Kerber beat Maria Sakkari 6-2 6-2, with Alison Riske matching that scoreline in a defeat of Leylah Fernandez.

Shelby Rogers won 6-4 2-1 when her countrywoman Danielle Collins retired with an injury. 

Local hope and reigning champion Bianca Andreescu blew an early lead as she was toppled by Ons Jabeur in the Round of 16 at the National Bank Open in Montreal.

Tunisian 13th seed Jabeur defeated the Canadian second seed 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-1 in two hours and 39 minutes on Thursday.

The come-from-behind triumph was the second time in two matches that the Tunisian has rallied from a set down to win after beating Daria Kasatkina in three.

Jabeur had twice been a break up in the opening set before Andreescu claimed it in an tiebreak.

The 26-year-old Tunisian, who made the Wimbledon quarter-finals this year, responded by breaking at 5-4 to win the second set.

After Andreescu had an injury scare after landing awkwardly on her left foot late in the second set, Jabeur dominated the third, finishing by winning eight of the final nine games.

Jabeur finished with 9-3 aces and was more effective on serve, going at an 81.6 win percentage on her first serve (40 from 49 points).

The lower side of the draw has opened up for the Tunisian who will face Jessica Pegula in the quarter-finals after the unseeded American defeated countrywoman Danielle Collins 6-4 3-6 7-5.

Two-time Wimbledon champion and seventh seed Petra Kvitova was knocked out in a shock by Italian Camila Giorgi in straight sets.

Giorgi, ranked 71st in the world, won 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 36 minutes and will face Cori Gauff in the quarter-finals after she had another walkover against Johanna Konta.

Top seed Aryna Sabalenka had no such problems, cruising past Canadian Rebecca Marino 6-1 6-3 inside an hour.

Sabalenka sets up a quarter-final clash with fellow Belarussian and two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka.

Azarenka got past Greek 11th seed Maria Sakkari in three sets, 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-2).

Fourth seed Karolina Pliskova got past Amanda Anisimova 6-1 7-6 (10-8) and will play Sara Sorribes Tormo in the last eight after she won in three sets over Katerina Siniakova.

Two-time Grand Slam winner Simona Halep's return to the WTA Tour ended in defeat to American Danielle Collins in almost three hours in the National Bank Open in Montreal on Wednesday.

World number 28 Collins triumphed 2-6 6-4 6-4 over the sixth seed Romanian, with the second-round match lasting two hours and 55 minutes.

Halep, who is a two-time winner in Montreal, was returning to the Tour for the first time in three months since suffering a calf tear against Angelique Kerber in Rome.

Collins, who has won titles recently in San Jose and Palermo, loomed as a tough first-up test for Halep, who broke twice to win the first set 6-2 as she generated eight break points to one.

The game turned from then on, as Collins sent down 4-1 aces in the second set and finished with 38 winners for the match.

Tokyo 2020 bronze medalist and third seed Elina Svitolina was bundled out in a second-round shock, losing 3-6 6-3 6-2 to Briton Johanna Konta.

Svitolina boasted a 5-0 record against Konta heading into the match but was beaten in a two-hour-and-11-minute struggle.

Top seed Aryna Sabalenka defeated former U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens in three sets to secure her third-round spot.

Sabalenka fought back from the brink, rallying to win the last five games and triumph 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 6-4 over the American wildcard in a two hours and 25 minutes.

Fourth seed Karolina Pliskova came from behind to win 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7-2) over Donna Vekic, while Jessica Pegula also fought back after a slow start to topple 10th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 1-6 6-3 6-2.

Greek 11th seed Maria Sakkari won in three sets 6-4 6-7 6-4 over Veronika Kudermetova, while 13th seed Ons Jabeur responded after a lopsided first set to win 2-6 6-3 6-4 over Daria Kasatkina.

Cori Gauff progressed after being 5-0 up as Anastasia Potapova retired, while Amanda Anisimova, Camila Giorgi, Rebecca Marino and Sara Sorribes Tormo all won too.

Canadian local hope Marino will take on top seed Sabalenka, while Gauff faces Svitolina's conqueror Konta.

Crowd favourite Bianca Andreescu was made to work as she opened her defence of the National Bank Open title she won two years ago but the Canadian eventually prevailed in Montreal. 

Andreescu defeated Harriet Dart 6-1 3-6 6-3 in just over two hours in her first match since falling to Alize Cornet in the opening around at Wimbledon. 

That was the latest in a disappointing string of results for Andreescu, who also departed Roland Garros after one match, but the world number eight got back on track Tuesday. 

"Playing at home is so, so awesome," Andreescu said in her on-court interview. "You guys [the fans] show me so much love, especially tonight. I've never had this kind of support before, so I'm so, so grateful."

While Andreescu was able to navigate a challenging opener, three other seeded players were not as fortunate. 

Katerina Siniakova downed fifth seed Garbine Muguruza 6-2 0-6 6-3, while Camila Giorgi ousted ninth seed Elise Mertens 6-3 7-5 and Liudmila Samsonova defeated 12th seed Elena Rybakina 6-4 5-7 6-4.

Having a better time of it were seventh-seeded Petra Kvitova, the 2012 tournament champion, and number 10 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who won by identical 6-4 6-4 scorelines against Frenchwomen Fiona Ferro and Carolina Garcia, respectively. 

Eighth-seeded Victoria Azarenka waited out a rain delay to cruise past 2013 finalist Sorana Cirstea 6-2 6-2 in the final match of the day. 

In other action, 15th seed Coco Gauff handled Anastasija Sevastova 6-1 6-4 while her countrywoman Danielle Collins continued rolling after her title in San Jose last week, rallying past Jil Teichmann 4-6 6-1 6-3 for her 11th consecutive match win. 

Two more Americans, Sloane Stephens and Jessica Pegula, prevailed in three sets as well. 

Johanna Konta returned to the court after missing Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics due to coronavirus-related issues and advanced when Zhang Shuai was forced to retire up 6-4 2-5 with a leg injury. 

With summer's main events about to begin, no one on the WTA tour is hotter than Danielle Collins. 

Two weeks after winning her maiden title in Palermo, Collins claimed the Silicon Valley Classic crown in San Jose, California by defeating Daria Kasatkina 6-3 6-7 (10-12) 6-1 on Sunday.

It was the 10th successive match victory for the American, who is ranked 36th in the world and poised to move up as the hard-court season intensifies with WTA 1000 events at Montreal and Cincinnati ahead of the U.S. Open. 

While it appeared for a while that Collins would cruise to another easy win, Kasatkina made it a fight in the 73-minute second set. 

The Russian had prevailed in the two previous meetings between the players, and she saved two championship points down 4-5 in the second and three more in winning the tiebreak. 

That marked only the second set Collins has dropped during her 10-match run, the other coming against Sloane Stephens in the second round earlier this week. 

Kasatkina's momentum was short-lived, however, as Collins broke her serve early in the third and never looked back.

Before her clay-court title run at Palermo, Collins had been 0-6 in semi-finals in her career. 

Top seed Elise Mertens was knocked out as Daria Kasatkina won through to the Silicon Valley Classic final where she will meet Danielle Collins.

Fourth seed Kasatkina swept aside world number 17 Mertens in one hour and 21 minutes, winning 6-3 6-2 in San Jose.

The 24-year-old Russian progresses to her fourth final of the WTA season, claiming her third win from four meetings against the Belgian.

The win was former top 10 player Kasatkina's fourth triumph over a top 20 player this year.

Kasatkina broke Mertens three times throughout the match, never dropping her own serve, sending down 4-2 aces.

Mertens was not helped by seven double faults throughout the match, with Kasatkina saving the Belgian's only break point.

Kasatkina will face American seventh seed Danielle Collins who was too good for Ana Konjuh. Collins only needed 52 minutes to win 6-0 6-2 over the Croatian qualifier.

Konjuh struggled on serve throughout, with Collins breaking her six times, while she only won one from 17 points on her second serve.

Top-seeded Elise Mertens rolled into the semi-finals at the Silicon Valley Classic with a 6-3 7-6 (10-8) win over Yulia Putintseva on Friday. 

The Belgian already has collected a pair of grand slam doubles titles this year at the Australian Open and Wimbledon and is seeking her seventh career singles crown. 

She will need to get past fourth seed Daria Kasatkina to have a chance. 

The Russian outlasted Magda Linette 6-4 3-6 6-4 in her quarter-final and is seeking her third title of 2021 after a three-year drought between wins. 

The other semi-final will match seventh seed Danielle Collins against qualifier Ana Konjuh.

Collins pulled out a tight 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-4) upset of second seed Elena Rybakina to reach the semis in San Jose for the second time. 

The American won her eighth consecutive match after taking the title at Palermo two weeks ago. 

She will meet the only unseeded player remaining, Konjuh, who won the final 10 games of the match to close out Zhang Shuai 3-6 6-2 6-0. 

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