Earlier this year, Danielle Collins cracked the Top 10 when she advanced to the final of the Australian Open.
But as she noted, it was for “one hot minute.” Collins was the No.10-ranked player in the world from Jan. 31 to Feb. 7. The next week she fell out, dropping one spot to No.11.
Next Monday, after the Miami Open concludes, Collins, 28, can again call herself a Top 10 player. She guaranteed a return with a forceful 6-2, 6-4 victory, appropriately, over No. 10-ranked Ons Jabeur.
Tuesday could be a sterner test, for Collins' quarterfinal opponent is Naomi Osaka, who looks a lot like the vintage Osaka who won four Grand Slam singles titles.
Osaka was a 6-3, 6-4 winner Monday over Alison Riske. After suffering a heckling incident at the BNP Paribas Open – and an abrupt second-round departure – Osaka has won all six of her sets in Miami.
“Going into Indian Wells my intention was to be pretty chill, and then that thing happened,” Osaka told reporters. “Now that I’m here, I’m just like no matter what happens, I won’t let anything stop my behavior and how I put out energy in the world. Clearly I have come here to do well, but if that doesn’t happen, I just want people to remember me for being a fighter.”
The other quarterfinal features No.22 Belinda Bencic against wildcard Daria Saville. Bencic defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2, 6-3, while Saville was a 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 winner over lucky loser Lucia Bronzetti. It was the third-longest women’s match of the event at 2 hours and 59 minutes, and the 14th-longest of the year.
Gallery: The 25 longest matches of 2022 so far
Here’s a breakdown of Tuesday’s two quarterfinal matches:
Monday at the Miami Open
- Badosa to play Pegula after defeating Fruhvirtova
- Swiatek ousts Gauff in Miami for 14th straight win
- Osaka returns to quarterfinals in Miami
- Collins overpowers Jabeur
 Danielle Collins (USA) vs. Naomi Osaka (JPN)
While Collins has lost both her matches against Osaka, based on the current rankings, this one might be more of a contest.
The first time they played, four years ago in Beijing, Osaka was ranked No.6 among Hologic WTA players and Collins was No.37. Osaka won 6-1, 6-0. In 2019 at Indian Wells, Osaka had risen to No.1 and Collins to No.25. This time it was 6-4, 6-2. Here in Miami, the roles are reversed. Collins will be a Top 10 player and Osaka has fallen to No.77 after dropping 2,000 points from winning the 2021 Australian Open.
Wednesday's quarterfinal matchups: Badosa vs. Pegula | Swiatek vs. Kvitova
After a slow start to 2022, Osaka has been on point in Miami. She’s been aggressive and decisive. She is the only major winner left in the top half of the draw. Her win over Angelique Kerber in the second round was her first against a Top 20 player this season. And even though Collins had a bye in the first round, the two have each played three matches because Osaka received a walkover when Karolina Muchova, coming off a long layoff, granted her a third-round walkover.
Collins, who hadn’t played for more than a month following the Australian Open, struggled with a viral illness that left her with an aching neck. She’s the top-ranked American and was a semifinalist here in 2018. Against Jabeur, she played her best match of the tournament. The first set might be more crucial than usual; Collins won 31 of 32 matches when she took the first set last year.
“Another aggressive player, someone that’s a great competitor,” Collins said of Osaka. “So I need to sit down, get my tactics together, come up with a solid game plan because I think when Naomi’s at the top of her game she’s very, very hard to beat.”
Miami quarters 😊✌🏾 pic.twitter.com/5KODukTBOr— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) March 28, 2022
Osaka, making her sixth appearance in Miami, has equaled her best outcome, now having advanced to the quarterfinals two years in a row. Maybe that’s because she grew up nearby in Florida and regularly attended the tournament when it was known as the Sony Ericsson in Key Biscayne. The crepes, she remembered, were amazing. She’ll try to match Collins’ aggression with some offense of her own.
“I feel like I just need to somehow be in control at all times,” Osaka said. “I can’t let her push me back. I’m sure [coach] Wim [Fissette] is going to give me like the whole computer analyzation type of thing, but right now my gut instinct thinking about the match is just to be as aggressive as I can and put the ball in at the same time.”
 Belinda Bencic (SUI) vs. [WC] Daria Saville (AUS)
Seven weeks ago, Saville was ranked No.627 and playing a $25,000 ITF event in Canberra, Australia. Now, she’s the first wildcard to reach the quarterfinals at the Miami Open since Victoria Azarenka three years ago. She’s only the fourth wildcard to ever do it, joining Azarenka, Venus Williams (2012) and Justine Henin (2010).
In between, Saville won two of three matches in Guadalajara, then qualified at the BNP Paribas Open and beat three Top 50 players – Zhang Shuai, Ons Jabeur and Elise Mertens. Saville lost to Maria Sakkari in the Round of 16, via retirement, with a left thigh injury. She has battled chronic Achilles pain over the years.
The 28-year-old Australian is currently ranked No.249. Saville holds a 2-1 head-to-head advantage, but they’ve haven’t played in nearly seven years.
Bencic, who came into the event on a three-match losing streak, has found an equilibrium in Miami, beating Marta Kostyuk, Heather Watson and Sasnovich. The singles gold medal-winner in Tokyo needed only 78 minutes to defeat Sasnovich and has yet to drop a set. Down 2-1, Bencic ran off a string of eight games to secure the match.