Danielle Collins & # 39; s victory over Venus Williams in Miami is perhaps the biggest of her career. (AP)
What do you do when you catch your first glimpse of a college player who joined the tour? If you are like me, look for the mistakes. What kept her from believing that almost all top players believe that they were ready to become a pro when they were young?
With Danielle Collins, University of Virginia's 24-year-old graduate Confronted with Venus Williams in Miami on Wednesday, parts of her game are raw in quality. Her ball throw is high and she can put up with her serve by a few meters. Her elbow can fly on her forehand and she can fight with it when she is on the run. In recent weeks, in their matches against Madison Keys, CoCo Vandeweghe, Donna Vekic, Monica Puig and now Venus Williams, I've been waiting for one of their mistakes to turn out to be fatal, for the moment when the more experienced comes professional, and Collins shows her inexperience. It has not come yet. If anything, the opposite always happens: Collins takes over.
She seems to get better with every match she plays. It took her three sets to beat Vandeweghe, Vekic and Puig in Miami, but only two sets ̵
Score of Danielle Collins vs. Venus Williams in Miami:
At the beginning she has a world-class backhand. Instead of letting himself be kicked back from Venus' serve, Collins placed himself behind the baseline and moved forward to hit the ball. Most of the time it was her backhand that threw back Venus. Collins did the same when the rallies began. Every time there was a chance for her to step into the yard and crack a backhand, she took it. The result was usually a fervent winner; she can hit them with equal ease across or on the line.
"There was no shot she could not make," said Venus of Collins. On Wednesday, I waited for Collins to stop firing, to wake up and realize that she had a chance to beat Venus Williams. If anything, when things got a little tight and Venus picked her up in the second set, Collins got tougher and found exactly the shot she needed.
More than what she does with the ball, it's this single mentality that really makes Collins stand out. She fights hard, but she fights smartly and manages her emotions well. If she's a perfectionist, she did not show it; Instead of turning one lost point into five more lost points, she quickly moves on to the next and does not give herself time to pout or become negative. When she missed a ground beat against Venus, she came right back and rammed the next one. And when she called her coach Pat Harrison (Ryan's father) on the court, she had specific questions for him, which made her wrong with her service request.
Collins & # 39; serve did not get much better after their discussion, but it was there when she needed it. At 5-3 she was 40-15, double match point. The first she smothered a nervous forehand in the net. Can Collins close? Would she finally tighten? She never had to figure it out, because she won the point with her best serve of the night.
Collins is the first qualifier to reach the semi-finals at the Miami Open, and it feels like there will be more breakthroughs. So far everything about her has been geared towards finding ways to win, not worrying about mistakes or missed opportunities. When college tennis teaches you, it's how you fight – for yourself and your teammates. I may have to stop looking for mistakes in former college players and look for what makes them special.
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