Self-reliance key to Australian success

Danielle Collins

The WTA is playing a three-ring circus with a tripolicate of events in the week before the Australian Open.

In the Yarra Valley Clalssic, Danielle Collins had a very good win over Karolina Pliskova, in two tough sets. But, she couldn’t knock out Serena Williams in the quarterfinals. Collins had a decent year, but if she wants to go into the top-10, she needs to be extremely fit.

The win took a toll on Serena, as she cited a right shoulder injury and withdrew from the semifinal clash with Ash Barty.

You can look at Barty, Simona Halep and Serena. They have tremendous variety. Even if they lose their edge when they aren’t playing well, they know that they can weather a bad set, they just need to keep fighting and, hopefully, the winners will come back.

Collins has improved here and there. She is intense, but each week, her inconsistency can show. The older you get, you will be more mature. Over the years, so many tennis players have to rethink their commitment. You just have to.

The No. 25 Angelique Kerber looks decent in February. She has a quarterfinal match with Maria Sakkari in the Grampians Trophy. However, how she will play incredible ball, or like last year, she was an underachieving malcontent.  

The 2020 Roland Garros champ Iga Swiatek has a new racket. She signed with Technifibre.

Sloane Stephens have lost again. Where is she going? The last time she won three matches was at the 2019 Roland Garros— three wins. That is nine months age. The former US Open champ and Roland Garros finalist is now ranked No. 40. Something is going on, but exactly what, I have no idea.


The ATP also has a swirl of events this week. In the ATP Cup, Daniil Medvedev is still self-reliant, beating the former US Open finalist Kei Nishikori, pretty easily. The Russian men are smarter, and improved, with some powerful forehands and backhands. Another top-10 er, Andrey Rublev, also won in the Wednesday match. He also can ace the ball, but in the past year, he went up, especially with his return.  Both of them will go very deep, at the ATP 1000s, and the Slams. But, to win it all, they have to take an extra step up.

In the Murray River Open, Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime is young, and he can be in a blaze. He is darn good, but in 2021, will he hit the top 10, or to continue his various strokes? He will face Corentin Moutet in the semis.