Friday, August 6, 2021

Collins ousts No. 2 seed in San Jose; Brooksby in top 100

No. 7 seed Danielle Collins extended her winning streak to eight matches,
including her first career WTA title. Photo by Mal Taam
No. 2 seed Elena Rybakina said the 16-hour time change from Tokyo to San Jose,
Calif., was the biggest of her career. Photo by Mal Taam
   SAN JOSE, Calif. — Facing Elena Rybakina's booming serve, Danielle Collins needed all the help she could get.
   The fiery Collins lifted her arms, exhorting the home crowd, twice in the second set of her 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4) victory over second-seeded Elena Rybakina tonight in the quarterfinals of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic at San Jose State University.
   Rybakina, a 22-year-old Moscow native who represents Kazakhstan, led 5-3 in the first set and held two set points against Collins, 27, of St. Petersburg, Fla. Both players finished with five aces, with the 6-foot (1.84-meter) Rybakina serving at up to 119 mph (191.5 kph).
   "I just kept telling myself to do the best that I can," Collins, who won her first career WTA title two weeks ago on clay in Palermo, said after her eighth consecutive victory. "It's easy to get frustrated, but you have to remind yourself, OK, I'm playing one of the best players in the world and certainly one of the best servers in the world. If she's going to hit 119-mph serves, I kind of just have to roll with the punches a little bit and do everything I can to ride it out, and hopefully I'll get a couple free points here and there.
   "So, yeah, mentally (I was) just being persistent and just trying to stay positive and not get too down when she would ace me." 
   The 20th-ranked Rybakina, meanwhile, couldn't match Collins' intensity.
   "I think I was tired, not even like physically," said Rybakina, who lost to Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in the bronze-medal match of the Tokyo Olympics last week. "It's like reaction, focus because I had (a) tough trip to come here. I think that's why I couldn't focus better in the tiebreaks."
   Rybakina, who reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal in the French Open in June, added that the 16-hour time change was the biggest of her career.
   The 36th-ranked Collins, a semifinalist in the 2019 Australian Open and quarterfinalist in last year's French Open, is scheduled to play qualifier Ana Konjuh, a former top-20 player from Croatia, for the first time on Saturday not before 6 p.m. PDT (Tennis Channel).
   Konjuh, who has had four operations on her right elbow, beat unseeded Zhang Shuai of China 3-6, 6-2, 6-0. 
   In the other semifinal, top-seeded Elise Mertens is set to play fourth-seeded Daria Kasatkina of Russia not before 3 p.m. (Tennis Channel). Kasatkina leads the head-to-head series 2-1.
   Collins and Mertens also reached the semifinals of the inaugural (2018) Silicon Valley Classic but did not play each other.
   Here are the 2021 singles and doubles draws and Saturday's schedule.
   WTA Tour in Cluj-Napoca, Romania — Unseeded Mayar Sherif (Fresno State, 2015-16) of Egypt routed No. 8 seed Kristina Kucova of Slovakia 6-3, 6-1 in the quarterfinals on clay.
   Sherif, 25, is slated to face unseeded Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu, who won the inaugural (2018) Silicon Valley Classic, on Saturday. Buzarnescu, a 33-year-old left-hander, beat Czech Kristyna Pliskova, the twin sister of seventh-ranked Karolina Pliskova, 7-5, 6-3.
   Sherif also advanced to the doubles final with Katarzyna Piter of Poland. They will meet Natela Dzaladmidze of Russia and Kaja Juvan of Slovenia. Both teams are unseeded.
   ATP Tour — Just over seven months after turning proJenson Brooksby will crack the top 100 in the world.
   The 20-year-old wild card from Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area will jump at least 31 places to No. 99 after dismissing No. 11 seed John Millman of Australia 6-1, 6-2 in 67 minutes in the quarterfinals of the Citi Open in Washington, D.C.
   Millman stunned Roger Federer to reach the quarterfinals of the 2018 U.S. Open and won Northern California Challengers in 2010 and 2015.
   Brooksby is scheduled to meet No. 5 seed Jannik Sinner, 19, of Italy for the first time on Saturday not before 1 p.m. (Tennis Channel). Neither player has lost a set this week.
   Sinner, ranked No. 24, beat unseeded Steve Johnson of Redondo Beach, Calif., in the Los Angeles region 6-4, 6-2. Johnson won the Aptos (Calif.) Challenger in 2012 and 2019.
   In the other semifinal not before 4 p.m. (Tennis Channel), 2015 champion Kei Nishikori is set to play Mackenzie McDonald, a 26-year-old San Francisco Bay Area product, in a matchup of undersized, unseeded players. McDonald, now based in Orlando, Fla., dispatched Denis Kudla of Arlington, Va., 6-3, 6-2 to reach his second tour-level semifinal. Kudla advanced to the final of the 2015 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger.
   Nishikori beat No. 14 seed Lloyd Harris of South Africa 6-3, 7-5. Harris, who won the 2018 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger, stunned top-seeded Rafael Nadal on Thursday. 
   In the doubles quarterfinals, No. 4 seeds Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Ben McLachlan (University of California, Berkeley, 2011-14) of Japan beat Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria and Tommy Paul of Miami by walkover. Paul won the singles title in the 2019 Tiburon Challenger.

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