Danielle Collins vs Clara Tauson Australian Open: Can the Young Dane Keep Her Run Going? (Jan. 21)
Michael Errey/Getty. Pictured: Danielle Collins celebrates in a match against Ana Konjuh.
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Danielle Collins vs. Clara Tauson
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
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Danielle Collins, a 2019 semifinalist at the Australian Open, is quietly navigating the draw expertly in Melbourne.
Coming into the tournament with no match prep and having not played in the warmup tournaments, it was a mystery whether Collins would be ready to go. After two convincing victories in Melbourne, it’s clear that the American is going to be a tough out.
In the first round, Collins easily dispatched of qualifier Caroline Dolehide 6-1, 6-3. Collins won 69% of her service points and was only broken once all match. In addition, Collins’ return was on point. Dolehide, a serve-centric player, only won 25% of her second-serve points and was broken five times in eight service games.
After beating Dolehide, Collins then took on Ana Konjuh. Konjuh has easy power and had an impressive victory over Shelby Rogers in the first round. Yet Collins comfortably beat her 6-4, 6-3.
Against Konjuh, Collins served well once again. She won 69% of her service points and was only broken once during the match. In addition, she held Konjuh to 38% second-serve points won. In Collins’ first two matches in Melbourne, she has hit a combined 31 winners compared to 33 unforced errors.
Her opponent, Clara Tauson, has been on fire in the early stages of the Open. While her health was in question coming into the tournament, as she retired during the Melbourne Summer Set 2 warmup event, it has been clear from her first two matches at the Australian Open that the injury is not affecting her any longer.
In the first round, the Dane didn’t have many problems beating Astra Sharma 6-3, 6-4. While Tauson wasn’t at her best, hitting only 12 winners compared to 26 unforced errors, she won 68% of her service points and was only broken once. On the other hand, Sharma, who has a fairly good serve, only won 53% of her service points against the solid Tauson return.
In the second round, Tauson put together what was arguably the match of the tournament. The world number 39 took down Anett Kontaveit comfortably, 6-2, 6-4.
Tauson hit 20 winners compared to 13 unforced errors while winning 66% of her service points and 53% of her return points. Tauson suffocated Kontaveit with her power and took control of the baseline. If viewers didn’t know better, they would have thought Tauson was the number six seed and Kontaveit the unseeded player.
It was also impressive that when Kontaveit went up a break in the second set, Tauson didn’t blink. From 1-3* down in the second set, Kontaveit broke three times in a row.
While Tauson is getting a lot of deserved praise for her win over Kontaveit, it’s hard for a young player like the Dane (who is only 19 years old) to back up such a big win. This is a letdown spot for Tauson.
Collins is also the perfect opponent to crush the teenager’s momentum.
The American is the more experienced player, has been to the semifinals here before, and is known to be feisty on the court. She’s truly not intimidated by anyone and will relish the opportunity to stop Tauson’s momentum.
In addition, her overall Elo rating and hard-court Elo rating are both higher than Tauson’s. While Tauson is certainly no slouch on the surface, she’s going to have to play at a very high level once again to win this match.
Stylistically, this is an interesting matchup. Though Tauson’s backhand is probably better than Collins’, the American has the biggest weapon on the court in her forehand. That will be the shot that does the most damage and ultimately gives Collins a boost from the baseline.
Sure, it’s easy to say,“Tauson beat Kontaveit, she won’t have any problems with Collins,” but during the second half of last season, Collins beat some great baseline players on hard courts in Daria Kasatkina, Simona Halep, Elise Mertens, and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Tauson’s game won’t scare her.
In the end, Collins will play the “villain” here and advance to another second week in Melbourne.
Pick: Collins -137
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