Puig Dominates Collins, To Face Pliskova In Indian Wells
Published March 08, 2017 12:17
Puig put together a dominant performance against Collins to advance 6-0, 6-2 after just under an hour and ten minutes.
"I always like playing on center stage, I guess it's where I feel most comfortable," Puig said in her post-match interview. "I'm always happy to play in Indian Wells, it's one of my favorite tournaments."
It was a different story for Collins, who was playing in just her third main draw match of her career. She found herself outhit and out of her depth as she fell to the Olympic champion.
The 23-year-old American - a two-time NCAA singles winner at the University of Virginia - showed flashes of promise against Puig as she targeted the Puerto Rican's backhand high over her shoulder. But she allowed Puig to dictate the pace and dominate the rallies.
After being shut out of the first set after just 24 minutes, Collins rallied back to earn a confidence-boosting first break of the match to start the second set. But the joy was short lived as Puig came roaring back, grabbing the break right back to level the score before reeling off the last four games in a row for a spot in the second round.
"You never know what to expect - I used to play against [Collins] when I was like, ten years old. I haven't played her in a few years so I needed some time to feel her out a bit. I found my groove and finished off strong," Puig said.
Waiting in the second round is No.3 seed Karolina Pliskova - it was originally Serena Williams before she announced her withdrawal from the tournament and caused a reshuffling of seeds. Puig trails the Czech 0-3 in the pair's win-loss record.
"For me it's not really a huge change," Puig said of having to play Pliskova instead of Serena. "I was already waiting on a difficult opponent if I made it to the second round, and I still got a difficult opponent in the second round.
"It doesn't really change much; I'm familiar with Pliskova and I've played her a few times. Lost a few times, too. She's near the top of the game right now because she's an amazing player."