Collins to meet Barty in Aust Open final

American Danielle Collins (pic) will face world No.1 Ash Barty in the Australian Open final.
American Danielle Collins (pic) will face world No.1 Ash Barty in the Australian Open final.

World No.30 Danielle Collins will meet Ash Barty in the Australian Open decider after beating Iga Swiatek 6-4 6-1 in their semi-final showdown on Rod Laver Arena.

Swiatek, the 2020 French Open champion, had no answers for Collins' power and aggression on Thursday night, with the American wrapping up the match in just 78 minutes.

World No.1 and home favourite Barty secured her spot in the final with a clinical 6-1 6-3 win over American Madison Keys earlier in the night.

Barty leads Collins 3-1 in head-to-head battles, but the American is the last woman to beat the Australian on home soil - in Adelaide last year - and she's looking forward to getting another crack at the world No.1.

"We've had some incredible battles over the years," Collins said during her on-court interview.

"To play against the No.1 player in the world in her own country - I think that's going to be really spectacular.

"I love the energy the fans bring, whether they're for me or for my opponent.

"We're just so grateful after everything with COVID to be able to have incredible energy and people here supporting us."

Collins' rise to Australian Open finalist is a remarkable achievement given her battle with endometriosis.

The 28-year-old revealed she had been in agonising pain during some tournaments before having surgery last April, and at one stage even resorted to serving underarm in a bid to not exacerbate the pain.

She had a cyst the size of a tennis ball removed during successful surgery, and has been in impressive form at the Australian Open.

Collins, who's also had a battle to beat rheumatoid arthritis, raced out to a 4-0 lead in the first set against world No.9 Swiatek, but she showed plenty of nerves when serving for the set at 5-2 up.

The 27th seed blew three set points and double faulted twice to hand a break back to Swiatek.

Collins set up another three set points in her next service game, and this time she made the most of it - albeit after yet another double fault.

The second set was all one-way traffic as Collins again raced out to a 4-0 lead.

Swiatek scrambled to save the first match point with the scoreboard reading 5-1, but she was powerless to save the second.

Collins hit 27 winners for the match to Swiatek's 12, and she also served seven aces to one in an dominant display.

"It feels amazing. It's been such a journey, and it doesn't happen overnight," Collins said.

"It's incredible to be on this stage, and especially with the health challenges, I'm just so grateful. I couldn't be happier."

Australian Associated Press