31 March, 2018
But despite the pressure it was the Latvian who broke first, getting ahead with a break to love at 3-1 on a sloppy Collins service game.
"The first time I saw Venus in the locker room, I almost cried", Collins said.
"I think all young American girls idolize and look up to Venus and Serena".
Ostapenko, playing her second Premier Mandatory semifinal as a favorite, saved a set point outplacing her opponent, forced to net a backhand. "I was just trying to play my game and I'm really happy with the way I finished".
Stephens, who turned 25 last week, is back in a final for the first time since Flushing Meadows and, win or lose, she will reach the top 10 in the WTA rankings for the first time on Monday.
Sloane Stephens recorded an impressive comeback victory over three-time champion Victoria Azarenka to storm into her first final of the season at the Miami Open. It seemed as if the crowd in Miami would be treated to an extremely close second set. The 14th-seeded Isner finished with 13 aces, won all but one of his 32 first-serve points and avenged a loss to the 19th-seeded Chung at Auckland in his first match of the year back in January.
Williams is known as a strong server but Collins stood firm and matched her.
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The 2017 French Open champion was on the attack for nearly the entire match with Svitolina content to play a counter-punching style. "She played very well and aggressively, and she went for every shot and it landed". "I mean, there's going to be some days where they don't land, but that wasn't today".
Those circumstances and experiences also motivated Collins to attend - and finish - college, something neither of her parents had done.
Currently, Williams is ranked number eight in the world.
Azarenka, a three-time victor at this event, coped much the better with the blustery conditions early on but as Stephens' fightback gathered pace, the wildcard's movement looked increasingly laboured as she appeared to struggle with an injury. Williams has won the Miami Open three times, in 1998, 1999, and 2001.
"You don't have to do it the traditional way", Williams said. The American was crushing the returns and brought up five break opportunities in Ostapenko's first two service games alone, pushing her to deuce seven times.
Her last win over an American had come against Chirico en route to 2017 Roland Garros title.