MIAMI, FL, USA -- Rapidly improving Wang Yafan of China eliminated a second seeded player in a row at the Miami Open on Sunday, ousting No.25 seed Danielle Collins of the United States, 7-5, 6-1, to advance to the fourth round at the event for the second year in a row.
In the first meeting between the two players, it was 24-year-old Wang who eliminated last year’s semifinalist Collins in 97 minutes, breaking the American's serve six times out of 13 break points. The Chinese No.4 extends her excellent vein of form which led her to her first-ever WTA singles title in Acapulco last month.
"The first time playing [Collins], and she played good -- [she had a] good Australian Open, semifinal," Wang said to the press, after her win. "I didn’t think too much, just focused, played my tennis, and that’s it."
Read more: The 100 Club: Wang Yafan hits her stride
World No.50 Wang continues to have great success in Miami, as she reached the fourth round as a qualifier last year, and picked up the first Top 10 win of her career over Elina Svitolina in the previous round this year.
"Last year, I played three rounds here," Wang continued. "So, I’m very happy and I want to play maybe better next match."
In the round of 16, Wang Yafan will face her compatriot Wang Qiang. 18th-seeded Wang Qiang moved into the fourth round after No.10 seed and eight-time Miami champion Serena Williams had to withdraw prior to their scheduled match, due to a left knee injury.
Wang Yafan went up a break early in the set at 2-1 before aggressive hitting and sturdy defense by the fiery Collins allowed her to pick off three games in a row and lead 4-2. Collins’s single-break lead was fleeting, however, as Wang pulled back on serve at 4-3 when the American sent a backhand wide on break point.
After holding for 5-5 with an ace, Wang wedged her way into the next Collins service game, as the American’s miscues once again allowed Wang to come out on top of the majority of the rallies. On her third break point of the game, Wang converted the break after Collins sent a forehand long.
Serving for the set at 6-5, Wang quickly raced to triple set point, and a netted backhand service return by Collins gave the Chinese player the love hold and a one-set lead. Wang won 80 percent of first-serve points in the set, while Collins’s 16 winners were undone by her 22 unforced errors.
Collins did well to pick off a volley and hold serve in the first game of the second set, but Wang turned on the afterburners at that juncture. The Chinese player broke through in a tense game to claim a 2-1 lead, and extended that advantage further with a second break to go ahead 4-1 after a clutch of errors from Collins.
Wang used a handful of tremendous forehands to stave off three break points in the following game and eke out a hold for 5-1. Wang kept taking the ball early to queue up triple match point in the next game, and on her second opportunity, she slammed a forehand crosscourt winner to clinch a third straight service break and another upset victory.