In the midst of her final season on tour, unseeded American Danielle Collins captured the highest-level title of her career on Saturday, prevailing on home soil by toppling No.4 seed Elena Rybakina 7-5, 6-3 to win the WTA 1000 Miami Open.

In an intense 2-hour and 2-minute display of power hitting by both players, 30-year-old Collins toughed out the win to take home her third career WTA singles title, her maiden WTA 1000 title, and her first title at any level since 2021.

"What a dream come true to have played at the level that I have played consistently over the last two weeks," Collins said after her triumph.

"It's just been amazing to go out today and to have felt the energy that I felt from the fans, and literally feel like I'm playing in front of thousands of my best friends, that was just surreal. I will never forget this day because of that."

Fast facts: Collins had not defeated a Top 5 player since a win over then-No.2 Paula Badosa at San Diego in October of 2022. However, on Saturday she matched Rybakina shot for shot to claim the fifth Top 5 win of her career, and in a WTA 1000 final no less.

With the win, Collins becomes the first American woman to take home the Miami Open title since Sloane Stephens in 2018. She is the sixth American woman overall to claim the crown, joining Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, three-time champion Venus Williams, eight-time champion Serena Williams and Stephens.

Collins, the 2022 Australian Open runner-up and former World No.7, is currently ranked No.53 and now is the lowest-ranked woman to win the Miami Open. The previous lowest-ranked women's champion at Miami was Kim Clijsters, who was No.38 when she won the title in 2005. Collins is projected to skyrocket to No.22 in Monday's updated rankings.

"I have always wanted to win every tournament that I have signed up for, but I do think that because it is my last year, I'm like, I really want to try to win a [WTA] 1000 this year," Collins said. "That's really important to me. That's something that I talked a lot about with everybody close to me. 

"It has been a goal, yeah. So I got to tick it off the list."

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Tale of the tape: Collins won her two previous titles in the span of a month in 2021, juggling continents (and surfaces) at Palermo, Italy and San Jose, U.S.A.

She made her Grand Slam final in Melbourne the following year, defeating Iga Swiatek in the semifinals before finishing runner-up to then-World No.1 Ashleigh Barty. However, until this week, Collins had not made another final since that Australian Open run.


On Saturday, Collins stared down last year's Miami finalist Rybakina, and the World No.4 had won the last three of their four career meetings -- although they all went three sets. Another factor: Rybakina had spent three more hours on court than Collins during this fortnight.

Collins lifted her power game in the final, and she bolstered it with steely mentality at pivotal moments. In the first set, Collins saved four break points in a gritty hold for 4-3, then swiped away another break point at 5-5 with a fiery backhand rally winner.

After missing out on those break point chances late in the set, the usually unflappable Rybakina wavered on serve. This year's ace leader Rybakina ceded three set points to Collins at 6-5, and the American finally achieved the first break of the set after Rybakina sent a backhand error wide.

After an early exchange of breaks in the second set, Collins again grinded out a tough hold for 4-3, saving three break points this time. In the next game, the American's aggressive return stance paid off, forcing an error with a backhand reply to lead 5-3.

Serving for her biggest title, Collins had to stave off two break points and needed four championship points overall. But four would be enough, as the homeland hope fired a backhand crosscourt winner to hoist her first trophy in two-and-a-half years.

"I had a few match points, and Elena was doing some great things out there and pushing me back and really forcing me to come up with some good stuff movement-wise, hitting hard shots, hitting the small parts of the court," Collins said.

"So that is really challenging when someone forces you to come up with your best stuff. I certainly felt that way on the returns and the serving today. I knew that I had to bring my A game."