8-7-21—SAN JOSE DANIELLE COLLINS RETURNS A BALL FOR A POINT DURING HER SEMIFINALS MATHUP SHE WON IN STRAIGHT SETS TO ADVANCE TO THE FINALS AT THE MUBADALA SILICON VALLEY CLASSIC ON SATURDAY EVENING. Courtesy of Sports Radio Service.
by Marko Ukalovic
SAN JOSE—Danielle Collins is on a mission.
The number seventh only needed 52 minutes to dispose of Croatia’s Ana Konjuh in a straight sets victory 6-0 6-2 on Saturday evening at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic at the San Jose State University Tennis Complex.
This will be Collins’ second final this season as she won the Palermo Open last month. Collins will be seeking her second straight championship and second of her career when she takes to the court on Sunday afternoon.
Collins, who won the first nine games and the last four of the match, had her serve working well for her with a 70% first serve percentage. What was even more impressive was her winning 16 out of 17 second return points.
“I think that’s one of the strengths in my game, said the 27-year native of St. Petersburg, Florida. “I usually have a pretty descent percentage of points won on their second serve because of how aggressive I play. So I try to use that as one of my weapons. I try to be relentless about it.”
On the opposite end, nothing went well for Konjuh who struggled with her first serve and return game, having six double faults and only winning 30% of her total points.
The 25-year old Croatian had an impressive run at the tournament. Konjuh came in as a wild card having to earn her way through the qualifying round. She won five of the six matches, the most played by any player this week, she participated in and said she will take away the positives she earn during her time in San Jose.
“For sure it was a good week for me,” said Konjuh. “I came here as a qualifier and didn’t expect much. I secured my place in the top 100 at the end of year, so I did what I came here to do. It’s a boost of confidence for me to do well even though I haven’t been playing that well “
In the other semifinal, number four seeded Daria Kasatkina cruised her way into the final after a straight sets victory over top seed Elise Mertens 6-3 6-2.
Kasatkina played with poise and patience throughout the match. She had timely returns that had Mertens guessing wrong on a few occasions. She broke serve twice in the second set and finished off the match winning the final three games in a row.
“During the game I’m studying the play,” said Kasatkina. “Whether I have to go for the big shot or to put more pressure that is what I will do. If I see my opponent is tense, I will play it accordingly. Every thing depends on a certain moment, also what the score is as well. And that is how I’ve played since I was a kid.”
Kasatkina utilized her serve during the match. She finished with four aces, a first serve percentage of 76.9% and won 82.5% of her first serve points.
Mertens struggle with her serve during both sets. She finished with seven double faults and only had a first serve percentage of 52.8%. Frustration grew for the 25-year native of Leuven, Belgium as her return game suffered, having only won seven out of 40 (17.5%) first return points.
“I felt like my legs were a little bit heavier (today),” said Mertens. “The energy was a little bit lower, I had a tough one (match) yesterday. She (Kasatkina) was hitting her spots. Her serve was doing well. I really wanted to win this one too but I couldn’t change it around.”
The Balkan team of Daria Jurak and Andreja Klepac defeated the American duo of Cathy McNally and Coco Vandeweghe in the first semifinal in straight sets 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (8-6) as both sets went to a tiebreaker.
Klepac and Durak jumped ahead in each set only to have McNally and Vandeweghe rally back each time to force the tiebreaker. In the first tiebreaker the Croatian-Slovenian team of Klepac and Durak easily handed the Americans winning the first tiebreaker 7-2. Then in the second tiebreaker the teams went back and forth, each scoring four unanswered points. Klepac-Durak finished the match winning the final two point to punch their ticket to the final on Sunday.
Gabriela Dabrowski and Luisa Stefani defeated Ellen Perez and Kveta Pesche in a three-sets victory 6-3 4-6 10-8 to secure the final spot in the doubles finals.
Singles Finals matchup:
Daria Kasatkina vs Danielle Collins at 4:00pm.