Danielle Collins wins biggest title of career with Miami Open victory

Danielle Collins produced a fairytale ending to her first WTA 1000 final in her last year on tour by beating Elena Rybakina to win the Miami Open.

The 30-year-old, who grew up in St Petersburg near Tampa, delighted the partisan home crowd as she produced a determined display to see off world number four Rybakina 7-5 6-3, before breaking down in tears.

Unseeded Collins, runner-up to Ashleigh Barty at the 2022 Australian Open, had won 12 straight sets after losing her first of the tournament, and continued to dig deep as she saw off Rybakina, who had reached a second straight Miami Open final.

The opening set stayed on serve, with Collins saving three break points in the seventh game. The American then dug deep to fend off another break opportunity for Rybakina to hold again and lead 6-5.

Collins continued her momentum to force two set points in the next game, but could not convert.

A forehand into the net from Rybakina presented Collins another opportunity – which this time she took when the world number four sent a return long of the baseline, to the delight of the home crowd.

Rybakina was under pressure on her serve again early in the second set, with Collins dispatching a break point chance with a forehand crosscourt winner to move 2-0 ahead.

The 2022 Wimbledon champion, though, regrouped to immediately break back in the next game before a hold to love levelled the set up again at 2-2.

Collins eventually took what was an error-strewn seventh game from both players to lead 4-3 – which again got the crowd fired up.

The home fans were soon back on their feet as Collins forced home another break chance when Rybakina sent a return long which left her serving for the title.

Elena Rybakina
Elena Rybakina had reached a second straight Miami Open final (Lynne Sladky/AP)

“I have worked so hard and it has taken a lot longer than a lot of the players on the tour,” Collins said in her courtside interview with Sky Sports.

“Today was just surreal, coming out here and playing in front of so many people that were behind me. Having a whole stadium on my side was something so special – it is hard not to get emotional.

“It meant so much to me to get over this hurdle. It is just a really special moment.”

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