8-8-21-SAN JOSE-DANIELLE COLLINS POSES WITH HER CHAMPIONSHIP TROPHY TALKING TO THE MEDIA AFTER HER THREE SETS VICTORY OVER DARIA KASATKINA TO WIN THE MUBADALA SILICON VALLEY CLASSIC FINALS. Courtesy of Sports Radio Service.
by Marko Ukalovic
SAN JOSE—Danielle Collins is living up on cloud nine.
The American came into San Jose on fire, winning the Palermo Open, and left town scorching as she defeated Russia’s Daria Kasatkina in an emotional three-sets victory 6-3 6-7 (11-9) 6-1 to conclude the 50th anniversary of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic on Sunday afternoon at the San Jose State Tennis Complex.
It is the second straight tournament championship for Collins as well as the second of her career.
It has not been all beds of roses for Collins in 2021. The 27-year old budding tennis star had surgery back in April for endometriosis. The condition is where cells like the ones in the lining of the womb grow elsewhere in the body. It caused her too much physical agony.
“Before my surgery, I was having to pull out of so many tournaments because of what I was dealing with my endometriosis,”, said Collins. “Now that I’m feeling better, it’s hard for me to think back to all of the weeks and days and months of having to deal with that. Always having to work around my training, always having to take stuff for (the pain) and not have it get any better. So I’m just trying to embrace every moment of feeling good.”
Collins broke serve in the first set when she was up 4-3 and used that momentum to close out the set.
In the second set Kasatkina was down 5-3 and ended up breaking serve at 4-4. However Collins rallied to tie it up at 6-6, sending the second set in an epic tiebreaker.
The tiebreaker went back and forth with neither player budging. A couple times during the tiebreaker Collins became frustrated with fans cheering before the point was over. Kasatkina seized the moment and ended up winning the tiebreaker 11-9 to force the deciding third set.
In the third set, Collins regained her form and was able to control the final seven games as Kasatkina looked to be running on fumes the rest of the way.
“I did get the sense that (with) my tactics I was doing the right thing,” said Collins. I did feel I was wearing her down a little bit. I was really persistent, (saying to myself) I got this. “
Collins had Kasatkina running up and down the court throughout the entire match and it proved to be too much for Kasatkina.
“She started up 2-0 in the beginning (of the third set),” said Kasatkina. “When (your) opponent is winning game by game in the third set and you already pretty tired, then yes it seems like the life is leaving your body.”
When asked after all she has been through with her physical well being, if she thought she would be a two-time winner this year, Collins would have never envisioned her recent success.
“It wasn’t even a thought in my brain. Honestly, one of my goals was to win a tournament this year. To now win two, it’s been…incredible. It’s still hard to comprehend that I’ve won two (tournaments) back to back. Like I said yesterday, that wouldn’t have been possible months ago, years ago. To be able to just know I can physically go out on the court and play with this type of stamina, this endurance, it means so much to me,” Collins said.
For her effort, Collins takes home the grand prize of $67,570 out of the total prize money of $565,530.
The team of Croatia’s Daria Jurak and Slovenia’s Andreja Klepac defeated the Brazilian-Canadian team of Luisa Stefani and Gabriela Dubrowski in straight sets 6-1 7-5 to capture the doubles championship earlier in the afternoon.
The Balkan duo dominated the first sets only losing one game to Stefani and Dubrowski. They had a first serve percentage of 73.3% and 10 out of 11 first serve points to cruise to the open set win.
“We were really hungry to win this tournament,” said Klepac. “Hungry to win the finals. I am happy with our performance.”
In the second set, Stefani and Dubrowski went up 5-4 and were on the verge of forcing the deciding tiebreaker third set. However, Jurak and Klepac broke serve and were able to finish off their opponents winning the last three games of the match and collect their trophies.
“Andeja (Klepac) was saying keep on going,” said Jurak. “Believe it can turn around. We can break them (on serve) again and that’s exactly what happened. We believed we could win even when we have some of the hiccups. I mean you’re human beings, it can happen.”
Jurak and Klepac compared their on court relationship to a husband and wife, when explaining how well their chemistry works.
“Well we’ve spent a lot of time together. “And I’m very demanding person. I want it too badly sometimes. She (Klepac) knows how to deal with it. That’s a huge deal for me. It’s like a marriage. When the woman says to the man, ‘ok shut up now I now understand!’. You know, she’s doing this to me. That’s how it goes (when you’re playing) in doubles,” Jurak said.
The team takes home $25,230 for winning the championship.
The Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic returns next year to the San Jose State University Tennis Complex in 2022 from August 1st-7th.