MIAMI — When Danielle Collins announced in January this would be her final year on the Hologic WTA Tour, we were left wondering if this was a spur-of-the-moment decision after a tough loss to Iga Swiatek or would a surge in performance prompt her to reconsider.

Collins was clear-headed about her decision. It was definitive, made after thorough consultations with her doctors, friends and family. Never one to be defined solely by tennis, Collins has always embraced a life beyond the court.

“I’m living with a chronic inflammatory disease that affects your ability to get pregnant, and so that’s a deeply personal situation,” Collins said during the Miami Open. “At the end of the day, this is my personal choice. This has so much more to do than just tennis and my career.”

And so, Collins quietly went on her farewell tour. Outside of the spotlight, she has been able to play multiple consecutive tournaments for the first time in a long time. In February, she made the Round of 16 in Abu Dhabi and the quarterfinals in Doha. A back injury halted her momentum, but Collins was feeling good as she prepared to play her final Miami Open.

Two weeks later, the 30-year-old American became the lowest-ranked Miami Open champion in the tournament’s history. She is now 20-7 this season. After losing the first set of her opening match, she did not lose another.

“I’ve been playing some really great tennis,” Collins said on the WTA Insider Podcast. “But sometimes when you’re playing that good, you start to say, well, this is too good to be true. Am I going to, like, mess it up?”

Those thoughts were swirling in her head as she faced down No.4 Elena Rybakina in Saturday’s final. She responded with the resiliency that has been the throughline of her career. She saved 10 of 11 break points to win 7-5, 6-3. As Rybakina saved match point after match point, Collins refused to relent. After securing the victory on her fourth championship point, she fell to the court in a wave of exhaustion and relief.

On Monday, Collins will surge up to No.22 in the rankings. She will sit behind No.3 Coco Gauff, No.5 Jessica Pegula, No.18 Madison Keys and No.20 Emma Navarro as the fifth highest-ranked American. The significance? The Top 4 Americans on the Monday after Roland Garros will qualify for the Olympics in Paris.

More from Miami

Here are some additional notes from the year’s fourth WTA 1000 event:

Honor Roll

Elena Rybakina: The World No.4 from Kazakhstan fell one win short of the Miami title for the second straight year, but the fortnight was still an incredible achievement for the former Wimbledon champion.

Best of the Miami Open: Courtside cats, puppy love and spikeball showdown

Rybakina withdrew from the Indian Wells draw due to illness, never getting a chance to try to defend that title she won last year. Nevertheless, Rybakina came to Miami and battled through four three-set wins en route to the final, spending a grueling 14 hours on court in her six matches.

“We were not expecting for me to be in the final with all the circumstances, and that I didn’t play so much before the tournament,” Rybakina said after the final. “So overall I think it’s a positive week, and yeah, it was a lot of good matches. I’m happy with that.”

Ekaterina Alexandrova: The World No.16 reached her second WTA 1000 semifinal with a pair of massive wins, shocking World No.1 Iga Swiatek in the Round of 16, then backing that up with a quarterfinal upset of No.5 Jessica Pegula. It was the first time Alexandrova had beaten Top 5 players in back-to-back matches in her career.

Yulia Putintseva: The Kazakh capped off a sterling month with a run to the Miami quarterfinals, following her trip to the Indian Wells Round of 16. After a Middle East swing where she was unable to get out of qualifying, Putintseva shone in North America, going 7-2 in the Sunshine Double, including three Top 20 wins.

Sofia Kenin and Bethanie Mattek-Sands: The American duo entered the Miami Open doubles draw as first alternates, and grasped that opportunity with both hands. Kenin and Mattek-Sands won their second title of the season on Sunday after outlasting No.2 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Erin Routliffe in a back-and-forth final.

Hot Shot

Naomi Osaka had the crowd cheering for her deft play during her Miami upset of Elina Svitolina:

‘What clever play!’: Osaka’s baseline-volley winner stuns the crowd in Miami

Notable Numbers

53: Entering the event at World No.53, former Top 10 player Danielle Collins became the lowest-ranked woman to win the Miami Open singles title. The previous lowest-ranked woman to hoist the Miami trophy was Kim Clijsters, who was No.38 when she triumphed in 2005.

181: Elena Rybakina exits Miami as this season’s ace leader, with 181 fired so far in 2024 (53 of those coming in Miami). The current total ace podium for the year includes second-place Karolina Pliskova (157) and third-place Caroline Garcia (123).

3: With her fourth-round upset win, Ekaterina Alexandrova became just the third player to never drop serve in a WTA 1000 match against Iga Swiatek. The others were Svetlana Kuznetsova at 2020 Doha and Ons Jabeur at 2021 Cincinnati.

73: Danielle Collins hit 73 backhand winners this fortnight in Miami. Only Linda Noskova has hit more backhand winners than Collins at a single event this year; the Czech teen hit 77 in Brisbane.

From the Camera Roll

Danielle Collins shared a spectrum of positive emotions with her supporters and tennis fans this week, as she captured the highest-level title of her career in her home state.

Next Up

This week, the Hologic WTA Tour stays in the Americas, as the spring hardcourt season comes to an end and the players transition to clay.

The WTA 500 Credit One Charleston Open will take place on the green clay of Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.A., where Ons Jabeur returns for her title defense. Top 10 players Jabeur, Jessica Pegula and Maria Sakkari join Miami titlist Danielle Collins and former World No.1 players Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka in the draw.

Everything you need to know about 2024 Charleston | Charleston draw breakdown

In South America, the WTA 250 Copa Colsanitas Zurich will be contested on the red clay of Bogota, Colombia. Two-time defending champion Tatjana Maria will go for the hat trick as the No.2 seed. Marie Bouzkova tops the draw as the No.1 seed, while No.6-seeded Camila Osorio aims to reclaim the title she won on home soil in 2021.


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