Danielle Collins vs Alize Cornet: Contrast in Styles Presents Fascinating Matchup (Jan. 25)
TPN/Getty. Pictured: Danielle Collins stretches for a forehand at the Australian Open.
Danielle Collins vs. Alize Cornet
|Time | TV||7 p.m. ET | ESPN|
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Danielle Collins survived a brutal battle in the Melbourne heat to advance to the quarterfinals. She outlasted the Elise Mertens 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the round of 16.
It was a physical match, with Collins playing more as the aggressor and Mertens desperately trying to keep hold of the baseline and counterpunching when it was necessary. But Collins did a great job staying in control of her game and not overhitting too often.
The American hit 45 winners compared to 41 unforced errors, dictating play from the baseline, make or miss. She was also won 13/17 points at the net, coming forward with good success when she was able to.
Collins also did a great job attacking the Mertens second serve. Mertens only won 38% of her second serve points with her second serve constantly under fire as Collins made huge cuts when returning.
Thus far in this tournament, no opponent has won more than 51% of her second-serve points against Collins’ return. In addition, Collins has generated a combined 43 break points and broke serve 17 times in four matches.
Collins is now one match away from her second Australian Open semifinal.
Alize Cornet is into her first-ever Slam quarterfinal, and what a match to reach that milestone! Cornet battled past Simona Halep 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 to reach the final eight in Melbourne.
It certainly wasn’t a pretty match for Cornet, as she hit one ace compared to nine double faults and 22 winners compared to 46 unforced errors, but she managed to grind Halep down. Cornet won the match on the back of her turn, breaking Halep six times and holding her to 55% first serves won.
Cornet had a break point in seven of Halep’s 14 return game. Overall, Cornet has had at least one break point in an astonishing 29 out of 46 return games this tournament. Her return is on fire and she both does a great job of getting tough serves back and taking advantage of weaker serves.
It has not been an easy road for Cornet at all, which saw her have to play Garbine Muguruza in the second round and Halep in this round of 16 match. In addition, in the third round against Tamara Zidansek, Cornet had to battle back from a set and two breaks down.
The Frenchwoman won’t be intimidated by playing Collins and she’s a veteran who won’t be fazed by Collins’ vocal demeanor on the court.
Collins is the deserved favorite here, but Cornet can hang in there more than the line indicates. Collins has the stronger serve and much more powerful groundstrokes, but Cornet has already dismantled a powerful baseliner in Muguruza and handled both Zidansek’s heavy forehand and Halep’s powerful backhand.
If Cornet wants to beat a player like Collins, she will need to serve at least close to how she did against Muguruza, which saw her win 83% of her first serve points and not face a break point.
While it might be unrealistic to expect that type of serving performance again, Cornet will have to at least make sure Collins isn’t seeing too many second serves, which Cornet has done a good job of in recent matches. She’s served at least 60% of her first serves in play in three straight matches.
Collins’ overall Elo rating is 13th overall and 11th on hard courts, while Cornet’s is 69th overall and 67th on hard courts.
But the Elo ratings have not been updated for the Australian Open (and don’t accurately represent Cornet’s current level of play). Cornet has also already beaten Garbine Muguruza, with the fourth-best overall and hard-court Elo, and Simona Halep, who has the fifth-best overall Elo and seventh-best on hard courts.
Collins will have her moments of smashing through the Cornet defenses, but as was the case against Mertens, she will also have times where Cornet wears her down. Both players have went three sets in their past two matches, struggling to consistently play at a high level.
Cornet will want to avoid the forehand-to-forehand exchanges, as her forehand is the weakest shot on the court and will sit up a bit, allowing Collins to take control. However, Cornet is craftier than Collins and understands how to change the trajectory of points.
Overall, Collins is the favorite for a reason, but Cornet has been too good this tournament to expect her to go out quietly. She will test Collins’ rally tolerance all match.
I think we’re in for a close one.
Pick: Over 21.5 (-120 at FanDuel)
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