Collins wins Miami Open on her final try

LAST DANCE. Danielle Collins holds her trophy after defeating Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan in the women’s singles final of the Miami Open tennis tournament. /
LAST DANCE. Danielle Collins holds her trophy after defeating Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan in the women’s singles final of the Miami Open tennis tournament. / AP

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla.— Danielle Collins had the perfect send-off at her final Miami Open, beating Elena Rybakina 7-5, 6-3 on Sunday, March 31, 2024 (PH time), to capture the title in her home state before an adoring crowd that included Andre Agassi and Martina Navratilova.

The 30-year-old Collins announced at the Australian Open that this season would be her last because she’s suffering from endometriosis, a painful ailment that affects the uterus.

On her fourth match point, Collins hit a backhand crosscourt winner, then bent over for 10 seconds without moving.

“That game took a lot out of me and Elena was pushing me all around the court,” Collins said. “At the end I was just like, ‘Thank God.’ It all caught up to me.”

Collins was teary-eyed during the on-court trophy ceremony.

“To the fans, I’ve played a lot of tennis, a few finals, and nothing close to this,” Collins said. “In my home state, to come out here in front of thousands of my best friends pushing me to get over this hurdle, I was getting very emotional. It was an incredible environment. I’ve never experienced anything like it.”

Ranked No. 53 and unseeded, Collins was animated throughout the two-hour match against the fourth-ranked Rybakina, pumping her fist and staring up at the crowd that featured a big American flag in the third row. It was too much for the ragged Rybakina, who hit several backhands long.

It was the third career title and first since San Jose in 2021 for Collins, who became the lowest-ranked women’s champion at Miami. She leaves with $1.1 million in prize money and will move up to 22nd in the rankings.

Collins said her impending retirement has motivated her to win more titles. This was the biggest of her career and her first in a Masters 1000-level event. / AP

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