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No.7 seed Danielle Collins of the United States powered past former World No.1 Simona Halep of Romania 7-6(1), 6-3 in the second round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Wednesday night.

2022 Australian Open finalist Collins improved to 2-1 lifetime against former Rome champion Halep after just over two hours of play. This marks Collins’s first trip to the Rome Round of 16 after two previous second-round losses.

Words from the winner: “Simona is someone that I’ve looked up to for a long time, somebody that I really admire as a competitor, as an athlete,” Collins said after her win. “I felt like today kind of worked in my favor because I know her game so well from watching a lot.

“I had to come out and play really aggressive and be consistent at the same time, because she’s relentless, she gets everything back. I just had to be really patient. There were times I was a little up and down with my serving, so I kind of made some adjustments, and just tried to be not too hard on myself.”

Former champ ousted: Halep has reached the Internazionali BNL d’Italia final three times, finishing as runner-up to Elina Svitolina in 2017 and 2018 before finally winning the title in 2020.

However, Collins did not let her opponent’s record of excellence in Rome stop her from blasting 38 winners in the match, more than triple Halep’s total of 12. Collins’s 24 winners in the opening set is the highest amount of winners in a set by any player so far this week.

Collins regularly went for bold returns and was rewarded with six service breaks out of nine break points. The American won 60 percent of points when returning the Halep second service.

Tale of the match: The crunching returns by Collins went up against the footspeed and clay-court craft of Halep, and the players were at a stalemate for most of the first set, exchanging breaks three times.

But after Collins broke Halep at love for 6-6, the American took charge by dominating the tiebreak with aggressive play. Collins claimed the final four points of the breaker to eke out the one-set lead.

After dropping the 81-minute first set, Halep quickly fell behind 4-0 in the second set. Collins was unable to serve out the match at 5-2, but she hit more huge returns to reach double match point on Halep’s serve at 5-3. Collins converted her first chance with a forehand winner down the line.

All-American clash next: Collins will now contest her first meeting with compatriot Amanda Anisimova in the Round of 16. Anisimova upset No.12 seed Belinda Bencic earlier on Wednesday.

“[Anisimova] is a really aggressive player, I feel like we have some similarities in our games,” Collins said. “It will be interesting playing each other for the first time.”

Badosa makes winning debut: No.2 seed Paula Badosa …….

Source: https://www.wtatennis.com/news/2614613/collins-knocks-out-halep-badosa-advances-to-rome-round-of-16

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