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Miami Open: Stephens, Ostapenko to face each other in final
31 March 2018, 08:41 | Tracey Rhodes
St. Petersburg's Danielle Collins tops idol Venus Williams at Miami Open
The American will next meet the victor of the second semi-final between French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko or countrywoman Danielle Collins, who ended the hopes of Venus Williams in the last eight. Collins needed to survive two qualifying matches before making the main draw at Key Biscayne, and will now meet sixth-seeded Jelena Ostapenko in Thursday's semifinals. And the No.13 seed did it again in Miami but followed a different route by overcoming the wildcard at 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.
"The first time I saw Venus in the locker room, I almost cried".
"I think all young American girls idolize and look up to Venus and Serena". Her touch is so deft, she could play tennis with an egg instead of a ball.
Victoria Azarenko won the tournament in Miami three times in her career - in 2009, 2011, and 2016.
The 20-year-old's aggressive approach paid off in the big moments to win the first set tie-break and after Svitolina saved three consecutive match points in the second set breaker, Ostapenko hammered down her 41st victor to end the contest. Ostapenko is the current French Open champion and will provide another tough test for Collins. She'll be at least No. 93 when the new WTA rankings come out next week, after getting through four seeded players on her way to the Miami semifinals.
"After losing the first set, I was just like, Okay, I didn't really do anything wrong".
Williams is known as a strong server but Collins stood firm and matched her.
And now Collins, who took the more-unusual path through college to pro life, still has a shot at becoming perhaps Miami's most surprising champion.
"You fight your tail off in those matches to be able to get to center court and play girls like that [the champions]".
Stephens was raised in Plantation, around an hour north of Key Biscayne and is expecting her friends and family to turn up in "full force".
Ostapenko and Stephens have never played a tour match against each other, and both are seeking their first title this season. "So that was another very good serving performance from me". He faced only one break point on Wednesday.
Collins' determination and composure throughout the match was striking, a testament to a leathery resilience that was partly inspired by the Williams sisters.
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