World No. 1 Swiatek survives Collins scare at Australian Open

Melbourne, Jan 18 (UNI) World No. 1 Iga Swiatek advanced to the third round after surviving a major scare from former finalist Danielle Collins in a three-set thriller on Thursday at the Australian Open.

Under the closed roof at Rod Laver Arena, Swiatek snatched a remarkable 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory in three hours and 14 minutes.

Four-time Grand Slam winner Swiatek was on the brink of a shock exit after being broken twice and falling behind 4-1 in the third set. But the resilient Pole dug deep as she capitalized on a nervous Collins, who struggled to close it out.

With momentum on her side, Swiatek clinched her 18th straight victory with a spectacular backhand winner down the line after advancing to the net as she threw her racquet in celebration.

Swiatek, who sported a knee brace on her left leg, remains on course for a maiden triumph at Melbourne Park with her best previous finish being in 2022 when she lost in the semifinals to American Collins.

“It’s hard for anybody to keep that level that Danielle showed in the second set and at the beginning of the third. I just wanted to be ready whenever I had a chance to come back and just play a little bit more because there weren’t many rallies,” Swiatek noted at the post-match conference.

“She was really aggressive. I wanted to do the same. In the second set for sure she showed better quality. I’m happy that I was solid and I just believed till the end,” she added.

It was a bitter disappointment for 62nd-ranked Collins, who has never been able to match her dazzling run from two years ago, where she was runner-up to Australian Ashleigh Barty.

“At this point, I’m kind of at the end of my career and they don’t sting quite as much, to be honest … I have kind of gotten to the point where obviously they matter and, you know, my career means a lot to me, but at the end of the day, you either win or lose, and that’s all there is to it,” said the 30-year-old veteran.

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