MELBOURNE, Australia – Danielle Collins played excellent tennis to reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open, but only after winning “can feel like a normal person”.
Less than a year after a diagnosis of endometriosis resulted in the removal of a tennis ball-sized cyst from her uterus, as well as tissue from her bladder and bowel, Collins County 27 beat Alizé Cornet, 7-5, 6-1, in Wednesday afternoon’s quarter-final at Rod Laver Arena.
“The advice I’ve received over the years is that painful periods are normal, it’s normal to take anti-inflammatory medications,” says Collins. “I feel like it’s something I just had to deal with. It eventually got to the point where I couldn’t deal with it much longer physically or mentally.”
“Once I was able to get an accurate diagnosis and surgery, I feel it helped me a lot – not only from a physical point of view but also from a mental point of view,” she added.
Collins was able to return to action seven weeks after surgery, at last year’s French Open.
Cornet said Collins’ play was even more powerful and oppressive than she expected.
“Her ball was very fast in the air, and she received the ball very early,” said Cornet. “All the time you feel really oppressed. I feel short of breath all the time. I can’t, like, put my game. She never let me do it, never gave me time to do it. Yes, she is very impressive. ”
Before the match, Cornet compared Collins, known for his self-encouraging roar on the field, to a lion but later said: “I don’t think I’ve given her enough matches today. so she can express herself.”
Collins is back in the semifinals in three years after reaching her only other Grand Slam singles semifinal here. Cornet played in her first quarter-final in 63 Grand Slam main draws. She says her running has given her a new appreciation for the challenge of going deep into a tournament like the Australian Open.
“I always respect Grand Slam winners because it’s a long way; God, I feel like I’m playing this tournament for a year,” said Cornet. “I was exhausted mentally and physically. When you go all the way and win these seven weird matches, it’s just huge. “
In Thursday night’s semi-final, Collins will face seventh seed Iga Swiatek of Poland, who needed over three hours to beat Estonian Kaia Kanepi, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6- 3, on Wednesday afternoon.
Thursday’s first semi-final will pit Australian top seed Ashleigh Barty against underrated American Madison Keys. If Collins and Keys win together, it will set up the first all-American final in Melbourne since Serena Williams beats sister Venus in 2017.
Collins, 28, reached the semi-finals here for the first time three years ago in a breakout run that confirmed her from a standout student at the University of Virginia to a top professional.
In addition to the physical improvements, Collins says that some of her biggest mental developments came in late 2020 on a very different front: when American doubles expert Bethanie Mattek-Sands made her go rock climbing in the mountains. Arizona.
Collins, a long-time agoraphobic, said she was “terrified” by the “what if” of rock climbing, but the risks involved – even with plenty of safety gear in place. used – makes tennis appear relaxed in comparison.
“Halfway through, I realized every time I went to court, it was not life or death,” she said. “For climbers, it can be. It was a really big realization for me and something I think has helped me grow to step out of my comfort zone and try something I’ve never done before, something that I really do. fear of doing. It was a huge grown-up moment for me. ”
The comeback win marks a new area of development for Swiatek, who has become the highest level of the game as she races to the 2020 French Open title without dropping a set. Trying to win while not playing to your full potential is an area of focus for Swiatek and her travel sports psychologist, Daria Abramowicz.
Last season, Swiatek only came back to win after losing the first 3 sets in 13 matches.
“I’m proud of myself that I can still find a solution and actually think more in court about what needs to change, because it wasn’t clear to me before,” Swiatek said. “It was part of the work we did with Daria to get my emotions under control and just be able to really focus on finding solutions.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/26/sports/tennis/collins-australian-open.html Danielle Collins will face Iga Swiatek in the semi-finals of the Australian Open