Danielle Collins continued her breakthrough winning ways at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic on Sunday, as the No.7 seed from the United States outlasted No.4 seed Daria Kasatkina of Russia, 6-3, 6-7(10), 6-1 to win her second straight WTA singles title.
Just three weeks ago, Collins had yet to make her first WTA singles final. Since then, she has won 10 matches in a row, following up her maiden title on the clay courts of Palermo with another championship on the hardcourts of San Jose.
"It was one of my goals to win a tournament this year, and to now win two, it’s just been incredible," Collins told the press, after her victory. "It’s still kind of hard to comprehend that I’ve won two back-to-back."
Collins had lost her two previous matches against Kasatkina, including a semifinal defeat at the Phillip Island Trophy in Melbourne earlier this season. But this time around, the American powered through the three-set battle, despite missing out on five championship points in the second set.
The encounter featured numerous twists and turns before Collins could recover from Kasatkina's second-set comeback and finish off the match after two hours and 18 minutes of play. All told, Collins converted five of her eight break points, winning 62 percent of points off of the Kasatkina second serve.
"I think today I executed my game plan well," Collins said. "It’s tough when you go out against an opponent who runs down so many balls, anticipates so well, because a lot of times you’re having to win the point six, seven, eight times. Where certain shots would be winners against other players, they’re not going to be against Dasha because of how great of a mover and anticipator she is.
"I just had to really kind of lock into that mentality of being really patient with myself, and putting myself in an aggressive position consistently, but also accepting the fact that there were going to be some errors and mistakes along the way."
Currently ranked World No.36, Collins is projected to return to the Top 30 following this victory, creeping closer to her career-high ranking of World No.23, which she reached in 2019.
Collins used a bevy of ferocious forehands to stay ahead in the opener, then broke at love with a huge forehand return for a 5-3 lead. Serving for the one-set lead, Collins fired an astonishing three aces in a row and another unreturned serve to clinch the set at love. Collins had 21 winners to just eight unforced errors in the opener.
An early break put Collins well out in front in the second set as well, and she had two championship points on Kasatkina’s serve at 5-3. However, Collins misfired on those chances, and Kasatkina began to pull back into the clash. At 5-4, Kasatkina broke serve for the first time with a forehand winner of her own, leveling the set.
In the tiebreak, Kasatkina leapt out to a 4-0 lead before Collins moved back to parity. The players jockeyed back and forth, with Collins garnering three more match points and Kasatkina holding three set points, and the breaker went all the way to 10-10. There, Kasatkina forced an error with her forehand to claim a fourth set point, which the Russian converted at last after a netted forehand by Collins.
"Towards the end of the second set, I became too much of my own critic as well, and I was really hard on myself," Collins said. "So I really had to have a reality check after losing that tiebreak, and say ‘Let’s just try to keep the positive energy going here, let’s not let this get me down.’"
Collins regrouped in the third set, and after an early exchange of breaks, the American took the lead for good with a love break for 3-1. At 5-1, Collins queued up three more championship points with a forehand winner, and it was lucky number seven which finally wrapped up the match after a Kasatkina miscue into the net.
Earlier on Sunday, the doubles title went to No.2 seeds Darija Jurak of Croatia and Andreja Klepac of Slovenia, who defeated No.1 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada and Luisa Stefani of Brazil, 6-1, 7-5.
Jurak and Klepac converted six of their 13 break points en route to the one-hour and 11-minute victory over the top seeds. It was their second title of the year as a duo, having also teamed up to win on the grass of Bad Homburg last month.
"We were trying to make unforced errors as [little] as possible, make them play, because they are coming to the net, serve-and-volleying," Jurak told the press, after the championship. "They’re really good in what they do, executing the volleys. So playing around them was good, lobs, mixing it up, good strategy. Everything worked well, and I’m happy how we played.
"I’m really happy with how this whole week went, and hopefully we can continue playing this consistently for the next weeks."
For Jurak, it was the ninth WTA doubles title of her career overall, while Klepac has now collected an even 10 WTA doubles titles.