MIAMI – The Miami Open final is set for Saturday, where World No.4 Elena Rybakina will face unseeded American Danielle Collins at Hard Rock Stadium.

The contrasts couldn’t be more stark. In Rybakina vs. Collins, you have Ice vs. Fire. Rybakina is the young veteran, bidding to win her third WTA 1000 title. Collins, 30 and playing in her final season, is the older debutante playing the first WTA 1000 final.

Rybakina has lost nearly 70 games en route to the final, more than anyone in the tournament’s history. Collins? She’s barely losing sets, let alone games.

Here’s what you need to know about the Miami Open final.

When is the singles final?

The singles final will be played on Saturday, March 30 at  3 p.m. ET.

Miami is on Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -4).

What are the points and prize money at stake?

Miami is the fourth WTA 1000 tournament of the season. By making the final, Rybakina and Collins have assured themselves 650 ranking points and $585,000 in prize money.

A win on Saturday would give the winner a total take of 1,000 points and $1.1 million dollars.

How did Rybakina and Collins get here?

The two have had contrasting roads to the Miami final. Rybakina was a finalist here last year. Seeded No.4, she has been taken to three sets in all but one of her matches. After a first-round bye, she has defeated Clara Tauson, Taylor Townsend, No.17 Madison Keys, No.8 Maria Sakkari and No.23 Victoria Azarenka.

Rybakina has lost 69 matches across her five wins, the most en route to the Miami final since the tournament’s inception in 1985.

Unseeded and playing in her home state, Collins is into her first WTA 1000 final with a dominating fortnight in Miami. After losing the first set of her tournament to Bernarda Pera, Collins has not lost more than three games in a set. She has defeated Pera, No.30 Anastasia Potapova, Elina Avanesyan, No.19 Sorana Cirstea, No.23 Caroline Garcia and No.14 Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Collins’ last 12 set scores? 6-1, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2, 6-1, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.

How do they stack up?

Rybakina and Collins have played four times, with Rybakina leading the head-to-head 3-1. Collins won their first match in 2021 en route to her title in San Jose, but Rybakina has taken the last three. All three of Rybakina’s wins needed a third set.

Their most recent showdown came in Abu Dhabi last month. Rybakina won 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Rybakina comes from a set down to defeat Collins in Abu Dhabi

What milestones are at stake on Saturday?

Rybakina is bidding to win her third title of the season and eighth overall. She is already the first woman to make four WTA finals in the first three months of the season since she did it in 2020. Miami would be her third WTA 1000 title, having won Indian Wells and Rome last year.

Rybakina is already one of two player to have won multiple WTA 1000 titles since the start of 2023. A win would tie her with Iga Swiatek with three over that span.

With victory over Danielle Collins would tie Rybakina for second in win percentage at WTA 1000 tournaments since 2020 (73.2%, 60-22). She would trail only Swiatek (81.4%, 79-18) and move level with Simona Halep (73.5%, 25-9), Jessica Pegula (72.4%, 63-24) and Karolina Muchova (69.8%, 30-13).

By making the Miami final, Collins has made a final at all four WTA levels. Her previous three finals came at 2021 Palermo (WTA 250), 2021 San Jose (WTA 500), and 2022 Australian Open (Grand Slam). A victory on Saturday would deliver a third career title, after winning Palermo and San Jose.

In January, Collins announced 2024 would be her final season. She is bidding to become the second unseeded champion in Miami, after Kim Clijsters in 2005. She is already the second-lowest ranked woman to make the Miami final after Naomi Osaka did so ranked No.77.

What are they saying?

Rybakina: “Last year it was different conditions. I was coming from Indian Wells, a lot of wins. This year it’s much different. I was not expecting honestly to be in the final, because I was not prepared that well for this tournament. But really happy that I managed to battle through all these matches and be in the final again.”

Collins: “To have made the finals, first finals of a 1000 level in my home state during my last season, this is just great. The memories made this week on and off the court, yeah, I’m just over the moon.

“A day off tomorrow, hit the golf course, play a little tennis. Living the dream. Living the dream in Miami.”

Rybakina: “For sure I can take a lot from this tournament, a lot of positive. And also, in the beginning, these long matches were helping me to get back in shape. Now I’m not in shape just because I’m tired of all these long matches, but overall, it was really successful tournament no matter how I do in the final.”

Road to the Final: Collins dominates to make first WTA 1000 final in Miami

Collins: “I’m 30, but I haven’t really played that long on tour. I remember when I made my first semis at Australian Open, and they were, like, Oh, Danielle Collins never won a Grand Slam match before this. I was like, I have only played, like, three Grand Slams. (Laughter.)

“So I feel like you need time to get experience and you need time to learn about yourself, what works, what doesn’t work. There are so many different areas: physical, mental, emotional. Obviously with the physical challenges and the health stuff, that has been something that I have dealt with the majority of my career, and it hasn’t been easy.”

Rybakina: “For [Collins’] kind of game, I need to be prepared physically, to also push myself, have a good serve. First few balls I need to be very fast, which, I mean, is going to be for sure difficult for me physically, but we see who is going to win in the end, and I will try to prepare and do my best in final, of course.

Collins: “I’m looking forward to playing Elena. We have had a lot of great matches previously, some battles. That’s what we play for as professional athletes, these close ones. Every time I have played her, it’s neck and neck. These games are close, the points are close, they are long, challenging points. Big serves from both of us. Big returns, big groundstrokes.

“I think we will go out there and put on a great show and it will be a fun match.”

Source: https://www.wtatennis.com/news/3944589/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-miami-2024-final

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