Danielle Collins scored her first Top 30 win of the year by overpowering wild card Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-2 in the first round of the Omnium Banque Nationale.
The No.48-ranked American had needed to play the qualifying rounds at a WTA tournament for the first time since Sydney 2019 in order to reach the main draw, barely scraping through her final round 7-5, 6-7(10), 7-5 over Emina Bektas. But against Svitolina, Collins was in dominant form reminiscent of their previous meeting, a 6-1, 6-1 rout in the first round of Brisbane 2020.
Svitolina was coming off a series of stellar results, including the Washington quarterfinals last week, that have seen her soar back to No.26 in the rankings just four months after returning from maternity leave. But Collins needed just 71 minutes to claim her first win over a Top 30 player since defeating Paula Badosa in the San Diego quarterfinals last October.
Collins will next face No.8 seed Maria Sakkari, the Washington runner-up last week. The Greek player has won both of their previous meetings, at San Jose 2018 and Guadalajara 2022, in three sets.
How the match was won: It was 2017 champion Svitolina who briefly had the upper hand early, earning the first two break points of the contest at 2-2 in the first set following some brilliant defensive work. But Collins swatted both away with service winners, and from there her own power play was relentless.
A double fault from Svitolina conceded the first break in the subsequent game, but two clean return winners from Collins enabled her to break again for the set. The former World No.7 racked up 16 winners to 12 unforced errors, while Svitolina's stats were the reverse -- 12 winners to 16 unforced errors.
Collins on the benefits of qualifying: "I had two tough matches in the qualifying, so I got a lot of time on court, which is kind of what I needed, not having a lot of matches this year.
"So after playing a few long matches, I really feel in rhythm, and I felt like today I was really on with my shots and was able to take control of the points early and get off to a good start. Then I was able to really just keep the momentum going forward.
Collins on her limited schedule: "Sometimes I joke with my coach, and I tell him the more I play, the worse I get. I don't know if that's really true, but it's a little bit of a cop-out (laughing) so that I can have more time at home and play a less demanding schedule.
"I love competing. I love being out here on tour, but I think I'm certainly not someone that's going to play 25 tournaments a year and a million matches. I feel like I have a pretty good balance with my life and wanting to do other things. When I do show up, I try to bring my best. I certainly try to emphasize more quality tournaments over quantity, I would say."