From Palermo to Miami: Danielle Collins triumphs in Florida with her first tournament win at the Country Club in 2021.

At the dawn of her 30s, Danielle Collins, who announced at the beginning of the season that she will leave professional tennis at the end of 2024, has won her first career 1000 title. The American, ranked 53rd in the world, claimed today the Miami Open, the fourth WTA 1000 of the year, with a total prize money of $8,770,480, played on the cement courts of the Hard Rock Stadium in Florida. Many in Sicily will remember her as the winner of the Palermo Country tournament in 2021.

In the Miami final, Collins defeated Russian Elena Rybakina, a 24-year-old, ranked 4th in the international ranking and seedings, with a score of 7-5, 6-3. This is the third trophy of the women’s circuit for the American, after her two victories in 2021, in the WTA 250 Palermo and then in the 500 San Jose. She has only lost one final, at the 2022 Australian Open. She will now rise to 22nd place in the WTA rankings. For Rybakina, it was her 18th final of her career, with 7 titles won, including a Grand Slam event, Wimbledon 2022.

Therefore, Palermo was Danielle Collins’ first WTA title at the age of 27. That was also the first time an American won at the Palermo Ladies Open, where Jennifer Capriati could not get past the quarterfinals. Three years ago, Collins also visited the historic center of Palermo and was enchanted. “Thank you to all the fans, it’s fantastic to have spectators again,” said the American after lifting the trophy, considering it a moment of recovery after a period heavily affected by Covid.

Danielle Collins is from St. Petersburg, a coastal city in Florida. Her father is an amateur tennis player, and she began playing on public courts. She won the American under-12 championship against a certain Cammie Geady, who was said to be the next Sharapova. “After that success,” Danielle recounted, “I told my parents that maybe I would be the next Sharapova.” But how to do it? With few resources in the family, she couldn’t play tournaments abroad. At 16, after becoming the best under-12 American, Collins decided to go to college with a $50,000 scholarship. She took a set from Halep in a tournament. She was asked to turn professional, but she refused. “My one-year tuition is worth more than that prize money.” She stayed at the University of Virginia, not playing any official matches in 2013 and 2015. She won two American university titles. She resumed her tennis career in ITF tournaments. “You travel for weeks, play six or seven tournaments, and maybe come home with $180 in your pocket. It’s not a good feeling.” But tennis is her passion: “If I didn’t play every day, I would be bored to death.” In 2018, she made a leap from 167th in the world to 35th. In 2019, she reached the semifinals of the Australian Open, and in 2020, the quarterfinals of the French Open. Then her first victory in Palermo. In 2022, the final in Australia, and now, in her last competitive season, the Miami tournament. Where tomorrow evening, Jannik Sinner will try to emulate her in the final against Grigor Dimitrov.

Da Palermo a Miami: in Florida trionfa Danielle Collins, il suo primo torneo vinto fu quello del Country nel 2021

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