Sabalenka overcomes crowd and Collins to reach US Open quarters | Tennis News
Aryna Sabalenka overcame a New York partisan crowd and an in-form Danielle Collins to secure a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory on Monday and set up a US Open quarter-final against familiar enemy Karolina Pliskova .
American Collins came out firing to win the first set, but the tide turned in the second when sixth seed Sabalenka won a marathon service match to lead 4-3.
Sabalenka continued from there, breaking Collins in the next game and capturing the set with his fifth ace.
She broke again early in the deciding third set and raised her arms in triumph as Collins’ return of serve landed in the net at match point.
Sabalenka, a semi-finalist at Flushing Meadows last year, improved to 4-0 against 19th-seeded Collins.
“I love the pitch, I love the crowd,” she said at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“Even if you support her, which is expected, I love this place and I want to play here as much as possible.”
Sabalenka is battle tested ahead of the quarter-finals.
She clawed her way back after a set and 5-1 up against Kaia Kanepi in the second round, saving two match points in the process.
“When you come back from that kind of score, you know nothing can hurt you,” she said.
“You go into the next game and you know you will fight for him no matter what.”
Next up for Sabalenka is Czech Pliskova, who won a decisive match in three sets against Victoria Azarenka, also from Belarus, earlier in the day.
Sabalenka and 2016 tournament runner-up Pliskova split their four head-to-head encounters 2-2.
Sabalenka said keeping her cool if the match didn’t get in her way would be key to victory.
“Right now, I really expect a good level from her,” she added. “It’s going to be tough. It’s a tough fight.”