Collins Reaches US Open Fourth Round For First Time

Danielle Collins (photo: Manuela Davies/USTA)

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON, September 4, 2022 (by Michael Dickens)

Danielle Collins is part of a quartet of American women that includes Coco Gauff, who have thrived during the first week of the US Open. On Saturday night, the No. 19 seed from Florida advanced to the fourth round of the hard-court major the first time after defeating No. 40 Alizé Cornet of France, 6-4, 7-6 (9), on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“Honestly, I’m having the time of my life,” Collins said after winning her third consecutive straight-set match during the New York fortnight. Collins took center stage following Rafael Nadal’s 18th straight victory over Richard Gasquet. “This is what we dream of as a kid, playing these night matches. I grew up watching Venus and Serena winning most of their matches. They gave me a lot of inspiration. Being here is so special I feel so much at home.”

Collins, who saved the only break point she faced against Cornet, fired 52 winners to 29 unforced errors compared to 17 winners and nine unforced errors by the Frenchwoman during their one-hour, 53-minute third-round match.

The victory for the 28-year-old Collins sets up a round of 16 clash with No. 6 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, who ousted 131st-ranked French qualifier Clara Burrel, 6-0, 6-2, on the Grandstand. Sabalenka has beaten Collins in all three prior meetings, two of them at the US Open in 2018 (first round) and 2021 (third round).

“We played a battle here a couple years ago,” Collins said. “It was three sets. She’s a very powerful player. She really exposes people’s weaknesses. But I think with how I’m playing, hopefully, I can just have that laser focus and use my strengths. Yeah, just keep going for it.”

Sinner takes scenic route into round of 16

No. 11 seed Jannik Sinner of Italy reached the fourth round of the US Open for the second straight year after rallying to defeat No. 69 Brandon Nakashima of the United States, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2, on Louis Armstrong Stadium in a match that didn’t finish until early Sunday morning.

In his first three matches, Sinner has gone the distance to beat Daniel Altmaier of Germany, then saved three of four break points in a straight-set win over American Christopher Eubanks. Against Nakashima, Sinner fired 16 aces and hit 59 winners during their two-hour and 59-minute match. He outpointed his opponent 128-106.

The World No. 13 Sinner’s victory over Nakashima was his 41st of the 2022 season and improved his hard-court win-loss record to 22-5 this year. Next, Sinner will play No. 73 Ilya Ivashka of Belarus, who advanced with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over No. 26 seed Lorenzo Musetti of Italy.

Saturday’s US Open results

Sunday’s US Open order of play

Kyrgios and Kokkinakis: First rivals, now a formidable doubles team

Australian’s Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis began the week as rivals across the net in the first round of the men’s singles draw. Kyrgios, seeded 23rd, won their Monday night tussle 6-3 6-4, 7-6 (4). While Kyrgios remains in the chase for a first Grand Slam singles title and faces defending US Open champion and this year’s top seed Daniil Medvedev Sunday evening, he and Kokkinakis have combined their talents into a formidable doubles team, too.

The reigning Australian Open champions are through to the third round in their US Open debut after defeating Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan and Andre Goransson of Sweden, 6-4, 7-6 (3). They won 85 percent of their first-serve points, didn’t face a break point and improved to 8-0 in majors this year with their 84-minute triumph. Next, they will face 11th seeds Harri Heliovaara of Finland and Lloyd Glasspool of Great Britain.

By the numbers

• The US Open is wide open for the American women. As the round of 16 begins Sunday, one-quarter of the remaining women’s singles draw is held by Americans: No. 8 seed Jessica Pegula and No. 19 seed Danielle Collins in the upper half, and No. 12 seed Coco Gauff and No. 29 seed Alison Riske-Amritraj in the lower half.

On Sunday, Gauff plays No. 36 Zhang Shuai of China in Arthur Ashe Stadium and Riske-Amritraj faces No. 17 seed Caroline Garcia of France in Louis Armstrong Stadium.

• Coming into the men’s fourth round, there are four players in contention for the World No. 1 ranking.

• In the women’s singles draw, there are three Grand Slam champions who have advanced to the second week.

“Quotable …”

“The sport is about winning or losing, not about retiring. When you retire, you can’t compete. The feeling is much worse than losing a match, no?”

– World No. 3 and second seed Rafael Nadal of Spain, who has yet to lose a match at a major this year, commenting in his post-match press conference Saturday night on why he considers his withdrawal ahead of his Wimbledon Championships semifinal against Nick Kyrgios worse than defeat.