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Australian Open: Swiatek sets up semifinal clash with Collins

By Dejan Kalinic At Melbourne Park
Iga Swiatek

Melbourne, January 26: Iga Swiatek came through a huge battle against Kaia Kanepi to advance to the Australian Open semifinals where she will take on America's Danielle Collins.

Swiatek, the Polish seventh seed, made her second Grand Slam semi after a 4-6, 7-6, (7-2) 6-3 victory over Kanepi on a warm day on Rod Laver Arena.

The 2020 French Open champion held off Kanepi, who suffered a seventh defeat in as many Grand Slam quarter-finals.

Swiatek fought hard and needed three hours, one minute to progress to a meeting with American 27th seed Danielle Collins.

The steadier start was made by Swiatek, with Kanepi saving break points in each of her opening three service games.

But the Pole was having some trouble with her serve, a fifth double fault giving Kanepi a break point in the seventh game, the Estonian converting with a fine forehand return winner.

Swiatek held after a gruelling 16-minute ninth game, saving four set points as the Rod Laver Arena crowd started to come to life.

Kanepi had won only one set in her six previous Grand Slam quarter-finals, but she eventually served out the opener against Swiatek, converting her ninth set point.

After Kanepi broke in the opening game of the second set, Swiatek – who was starting to move the veteran around the court – reeled off four straight games.

However, Kanepi responded, a pair of Swiatek double faults helping her break back in the seventh game on the way to a tie-break.

Swiatek was the more consistent of the two players in the tie-break to send the quarter-final into a deciding set.

After the players traded breaks early in the third set, Swiatek took a 3-2 lead after Kanepi sent a forehand narrowly wide before managing a tough hold in the sixth game.

Swiatek charged into a 5-2 lead and while her attempt at serving it out did not go to plan, she sealed her win with another break after a tremendous defensive point.

DATA SLAM: Swiatek hard to beat at majors

It takes a fair bit to beat Swiatek at a grand slam.

The 20-year-old is now 30-2 at majors against opponents ranked outside the top 30 after getting past world number 115 Kanepi.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS Swiatek – 31/50 Kanepi – 35/62

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS Swiatek – 5/12 Kanepi – 5/4

BREAK POINTS WON Swiatek – 6/13 Kanepi – 5/13

Collins ends Cornet's run

Earlier, Collins ended Alize Cornet's dream run and reached her second Australian Open semifinal with a straight-sets win.

Collins moved into the last four in Melbourne for the second time in four years thanks to a 7-5, 6-1 victory on Rod Laver Arena on Australia Day.

The 27th seed was in solid form in warm conditions.

Collins was the aggressor throughout against Cornet, who was playing her maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal in her 63rd main-draw appearance.

It was Collins who dictated the majority of points from the baseline early and landed a break of serve in the fourth game.

Cornet saved three break points, but there was no denying Collins on her fourth opportunity, a powerful return setting up a simple volley winner for a 3-1 lead.

Collins looked the more comfortable in the warm weather, but Cornet hung in there and broke back when her opponent was trying to serve out the first set, the American's backhand letting her down with three unforced errors.

But Cornet dropped the first set when serving to stay in it, saving two set points but not a third - set up with a Collins forehand winner down the line - as she framed a forehand long.

Collins crushed a forehand return winner to break serve in the second game of the second set to take complete control of proceedings.

She broke to love to grab a 4-0 lead, cruising through the second set on her way to another last-four appearance in Melbourne.

DATA SLAM: Contender Collins finding consistency

The dangerous Collins has found consistency since the back end of last year.

She is now 31-7 since July 12, 2021.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS Collins - 28/29 Cornet - 11/17

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS Collins - 5/4 Cornet - 2/0

BREAK POINTS WON Collins - 4/9 Cornet - 1/3

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Story first published: Wednesday, January 26, 2022, 11:10 [IST]
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