Collins Reaches San Diego Open Semi-Finals

Danielle Collins (photo: Lexie Wanninger)

SAN DIEGO, September 15, 2023 (by Richard Osborn)

American Danielle Collins is into the semifinals of the Cymbiotika San Diego Open for the second year in a row thanks to a convincing 6-2, 6-3 upset of No. 2 seed Caroline Garcia of France.It was a rematch of their second-round meeting here in 2022, also won by Collins, 6-2, 7-6(4).“I felt like I was really feeling my shots, my game,” said Collins, who surrendered just five points on her serve in the speedy 24-minute opening set. “I was really in a good head space and flowing the whole match. Caro played some great tennis and certainly challenged me off of her serve and her returns. I just tried to play solid first balls and hang in there.”Next up for Collins is fourth seed Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic, a 6-4, 6-3 winner over seventh seed Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil. Haddad Maia appeared to be feeling the after effects of consecutive marathon three-setters.“It’s super difficult to play Bia,” said Krejokova, No. 13 in the WTA rankings. “I played Adoubles with her a couple of times. I really like her. She’s also a fan-favorite. I felt that tonight. I knew she was going to fight until the end. I was just hoping I was going to serve it out.”Krejcikova, 27, chalks up her even-keeled on-court demeanor to a mix of inheritance and experience.“I think it’s genetics, actually,” she said. “I think it comes from my dad, from my family. That’s why I’m calm. I also feel that after so many years on the tour, I’ve been through a lot on the court and off the court. I just have perspective. I’m just enjoying tennis. In the end, it’s tennis, it’s a game.”It’s been a rough few years for Sofia Kenin. After rising to a career-high No. 4 in 2020, the year she broke through to her first major singles title at the Australian Open, the American struggled with week-in, week-out consistency, dropping as low as No. 426 last year. But, as we witnessed on Day 4 at Barnes Tennis Center, the 24-year-old is fast rediscovering the kind of form that led her to the top of the game.Facing 27th-ranked Anastasia Potapova for the first time, Kenin booked a spot in her second semifinal of 2023 with a dominant 6-2, 6-3 win.

“I feel like she’s had a great year overall,” said the 93rd-ranked wildcard of Potapova, who was coming off a Round-of-16 upset of top seed Ons Jabeur. “I just had to do my best. I didn’t think about how she was doing; I just tried to focus on my game plan and what I needed to do.”The Barnes Center hard courts are beginning to feel like home for Kenin. After all, this is where she captured the USTA Girls’ 18s National Championships back in 2015. That title earned her a wildcard at the US Open, her first main-draw entry at a Grand Slam.

“I love it here.  I have so many great memories,” she said. “I feel like this is my lucky court.”Kenin’s next challenge will come in the form of emboldened qualifier Emma Navarro, ranked No. 61. The 2021 NCAA singles titlist played the role of upset artist on Thursday night, upending No. 3 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece in a thrilling match that came down to a third-set tiebreak, 6-4, 0-6, 7-6(4). It stands as the biggest win of her young career, her first over a Top-10 opponent.“It feels good,” said Navarro, who heading into her first tour-level semifinal is guaranteed to crack the Top 50 next week. “A lot of ups and downs not just today but in my whole tennis career. To be standing here now having gotten my first Top-10 win is really special.”“I think both of us had stints there where we weren’t playing our best tennis,” she added. “I think at the end of the third set, I kind of found my game. I tried to play through her forehand more.”

Cymbiotika San Diego Open – Barnes Tennis Center$ 780,637September 11-16 2023Results – Thursday, Sep 14QF – M. Kato (JPN) / A. Sutjiadi (INA) d. T. Mihalikova (SVK) / Y. Xu (CHN) 64 75QF – [WC] D. Collins (USA) / C. Vandeweghe (USA) d. [4] L. Kichenok (UKR) / J. Ostapenko (LAT) 26 75 11-9QF – [2] S. Aoyama (JPN) / Z. Yang (CHN) d. A. Danilina (KAZ) / B. Mattek-Sands (USA) 16 63 10-2QF – [WC] S. Kenin (USA) d. A. Potapova 62 63QF – [Q] E. Navarro (USA) d. [3] M. Sakkari (GRE) 64 06 76(4)QF – [WC] [4] B. Krejcikova (CZE) d. [7] B. Haddad Maia (BRA) 64 63QF – D. Collins (USA) d. [2] C. Garcia (FRA) 62 63Schedule – Friday, Sep 15BARNES STADIUM starts at 11:30 AMExhibition Match[WC] [4] B. Krejcikova (CZE) vs D. Collins (USA)NB 5:30 PM [WC] S. Kenin (USA) vs [Q] E. Navarro (USA)[TBA] [1] B. Krejcikova (CZE) / K. Siniakova (CZE) vs M. Kato (JPN) / A. Sutjiadi (INA)[TBA] [WC] D. Collins (USA) / C. Vandeweghe (USA) vs [2] S. Aoyama (JPN) / Z. Yang (CHN)