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Australian Open: Kvitova douses Collins fire

Petra Kvitova's straight sets victory over Danielle Collins propelled her into her first Grand Slam final since Wimbledon in 2014.
Petra Kvitova's straight sets victory over Danielle Collins propelled her into her first Grand Slam final since Wimbledon in 2014. REUTERS/Edgar Su

Petra Kvitova ended Danielle Collins' fairytale run at the Australian Open on Thursday with a straight sets win that continued her own dream sequence at the championships.

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While 25-year-old Collins arrived in Melbourne unseeded and unknown, Kvitova came into the first Grand Slam event of the season with a reputation as one of the best of her generation following two titles at Wimbledon and a string of prestigious titles.

Whether the 28-year-old Czech would ever add to her impressive collection had been in doubt since she was stabbed in her playing hand as she fended off an intruder at her home in the Czech Republic in November 2016.

Just over two years later, she is in her first major final since Wimbledon in 2014. She will play the reigning US Open champion Naomi Osaka who needed three sets to see off another Czech, Karolina Pliskova.

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Kvitova disposed of Collins 7-6, 6-0 in 94 minutes. The American, who had never progressed past the first round in her five appearances at Grand Slam tournaments, knocked out three seeds including a 6-0, 6-2 destruction of the former champion Angelique Kerber.

"I definitely don't think anybody would have put their money on me to get this far," said Collins after her defeat.

"I've certainly been a big underdog. I think I've held that title really well, fought my hardest and I think that can be in there."

Collins entered the tournament ranked 35th in the world and will rise to 23 as a result of her run to the final four.

"Clearly none of this has been a fluke," she added. "I think there are a lot of great things to build off and I think I had a really great learning experience throughout the entire tournament."

Should Kvitova hoist the Daphne Akhurst trophy aloft on Saturday, she will become world number one for the first time, lift her third Grand Slam crown and pocket 2.56 million euros in prize money.

"To be honest, I think not very many people believed that I could stand on the court, play tennis and play on this level," said the eighth seed. "It was just really few of them, I think.

"I'm very happy to have those few around me. Hopefully this will be for them, for my family and for everybody who was there when I needed it."

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