The reigning French Open champion and a surprise American qualifier completed the Miami Open semifinals on Wednesday.
Yesterday, Victoria Azarenko failed to reach the final at Miami Open.
In the semifinals Collins will meet No. 6 seed Jelena Ostapenko, who upset No. 4 seed Elina Svitolina 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5). She continued to use depth and power to earn a sixth break point and force an error from the Latvian, immediately broken back. "In the first set I was down but I battled back so I knew if I did that in the second, I'd be right in there", the 25-year-old American said in an on-court interview.
The out-of-nowhere French Open title last June was a hard act to follow in the intervening months.
Collins topped U.S. Open finalist Madison Keys earlier this month at Indian Wells and made a much bigger statement with this win.
Her last win over an American had come against Chirico en route to 2017 Roland Garros title. Thus, Stephens advanced to her first final in a WTA Premier Mandatory event.
Specifically, her shoes and shirt were proudly displayed with Leo's name.
So reaching the final in Miami is a confidence builder. When the new rankings come out, she'll make her debut in the top 10.
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The 2017 French Open champion was on the attack for nearly the entire match with Svitolina content to play a counter-punching style. I'm just trying to fight for every point and be more consistent and I think I'm getting there in my form.
Taylor is offered sound advice on the coaching consults.
After racing into a 4-1 lead in the first set, Collins held her composure to win the set 6-2 and gave herself a great platform to build towards a win. He underlined Ostapenko didn't need to distort her nature, to degenerate her offensive game but just to deliver an off-pace variation sooner or later.
On Saturday, expect Stephens to bring her full assortment of tricks to the final.
It may be not a minute too soon.
Ostapenko found herself under pressure from the get-go against Collins' gutsy tennis. An issue with one of the big lighting standards delayed the men's quarterfinal match played before theirs.
His opponent Sunday will be the victor of the other semifinal between No. 4-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany and No. 16 Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain.
Collins' determination and composure throughout the match was striking, a testament to a leathery resilience that was partly inspired by the Williams sisters.
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