Qualifier Collins stuns idol Venus

MIAMI: Qualifier Danielle Collins overpowered her childhood idol Venus Williams 6-2, 6-3 in a stunning quarterfinal upset at the Miami Open on Wednesday. Collins, belying her 93rd ranking, pounded winner after winner to beat fellow American Williams at her own game and set up a semifinal against French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.
Latvian Ostapenko overpowered Ukrainian fourth seed Elina Svitolina in two tiebreaks to win 7-6(3), 7-6(5) to reach the Miami semis for the first time. Thursday’s other semi will pit American 13th seed Sloane Stephens against unseeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.
Collins played with manic intensity against eighth seed Williams, repeatedly going for broke with groundstrokes that painted the lines and ran her opponent ragged around the Crandon Park centre court. “The first time I saw Venus in the locker room I nearly cried,” Collins said in an on-court interview.
“I’ve idolised her my whole life. She’s been my favourite player for forever and this is just a special moment I’m trying to wrap my head around it.”
Earlier, sixth seed Ostapenko was far from her best in her quarterfinal, spraying the court with 44 unforced errors and having her serve broken six times on a windy day.
Yet the 20-year-old’s aggressive approach, stepping into the court to take Svitolina’s second serves early and targeting the lines with her powerful backhand, paid off in the crucial moments. — Reuters