APRIL 21 - MAY 4, 2025

Sabalenka survives Collins’ streak

Collins-Sabalenka. Probably one of the matches so far at the 2024 Mutua Madrid Open. Two high-speed trains collided head on in the final match of the Manolo Santana Stadium night session and the result was spectacular. After almost two and a half hours of tennis, Aryna Sabalenka brought Danielle Collins’ streak to an end with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory.

Two of the best players of the moment squared off for a place in the last eight of the tournament. On one side of the net stood Aryna Sabalenka, a two-time champion of the event, the current world No. 2 and a two-time Australian Open champion. She has been at the top of women’s tennis alongside Iga Swiatek for the last two years. Sabalenka is in her element in Madrid, she loves playing in the Caja Magica and it shows in her tennis.

Opposite her was Danielle Collins, probably the form player of the moment with 15 straight wins and two consecutive titles to show for them. However, their head-to-head weighed heavily in favour of her opponent, who had four wins from as many matches.

Collins is a force of nature on court and she made it known from the offset today. In the blink of an eye, the North American had taken a 3-0 lead and only dropped four points, deploying an aggressive brand of tennis from close to the baseline. If you want to get past Sabalenka, you have to play more intensely than she does and that is exactly what the Charleston and Miami champion sought to do.

After an exchange of breaks they closed in on the end of the set with the scoreboard reading 5-2 to the North American. Then came the reaction from the world No. 2. Sabalenka capitalised on a break after saving two set points, however at 5-4 Collins rediscovered her forehand and moved into the lead. She had never been in the quarter-finals in Madrid and she was now one set away from doing so in what will be her last season on tour, having announced her retirement a few months ago.

The defending champion was against the ropes. The second set was a much closer affair. Both players held their serves and only Collins enjoyed a break point in game four. It looked like the momentum was with the world No. 15, but it was all change in game eight. Sabalenka managed to save two break points that would have given her opponent a 5-3 lead and one foot in the next round. However, she won the game with two spectacular shots; a wondrous lob and a perfect backhand.

At this point, the American began to falter and when Sabalenka smells blood there are few who can stop her. In a matter of minutes the scoreboard went from 4-3 Collins to 4-6 Sabalenka. They were now level, but Sabalenka’s class and her irrepressible confidence were starting to shine through.

The two-time winner of the event went all out for victory and Collins was unable to deal with her aggression. Aryna was unstoppable and two quick breaks earned her a 6-3 and the match. Collins remarkable run has come to an abrupt halt at 15 wins and Sabalenka is still in with a shout of her third crown. For a place in the semis she will now face upcoming star Mirra Andreeva, who today, on her 17th birthday, beat Jasmine Paolini in two sets.