Collins knocks Halep. Padusa advances to the last 16 in Rome

American No. 7 Danielle Collins defeated world number one Romanian Simona Halep 7-6 (1), 6-3 in the second round of the Inter Milan BNLD Italia on Wednesday evening.

Collins, the 2022 Australian Open finalist, improved to 2-1 for life against former Roma champion Halep after just over two hours of play. This is Collins’ first trip to the Round of 16 in Rome after two previous losses in the second round.

Words from the winner: “Simona is someone I’ve been looking for for a long time, someone I really admire as a competitor, as an athlete,” Collins said after her win. “Today I felt like it worked in my favor because I know her game so well by watching so much.

“I’ve had to go out and play really aggressive and be consistent at the same time, because she’s tireless, and she takes it all back. I just had to be really patient. There were times I swayed a little bit with my serve so I kind of made some adjustments, And I just tried not to be too hard on myself.”

Deposed former hero: Halep has reached the Internazionali BNL d’Italia final three times, finishing second to Elina Svitolina in 2017 and 2018 before finally winning the title in 2020.

However, Collins didn’t let her rival’s record of excellence in Rome stop her from edging out 38 match-winners, more than three times Halep’s total of 12. So far this week.

Collins went regularly for running returns and was rewarded with six service breaks from his nine-point break. The American earned 60 percent of the points on Halep’s second serve.

Match story: Impressive returns by Collins clashed against foot speed and clay courts for Halep, and the players were deadlocked for most of the first set, exchanging breaks three times.

But after Collins broke Halep’s love for 6-6, the American took charge by dominating the tiebreak through aggressive play. Collins claimed the final four points from the breaker to take the lead by one set.

After losing the first set in 81 minutes, Halep quickly fell 4-0 in the second set. Collins couldn’t serve up the match with a 5-2 score, but she yielded more returns to reach the double match point on Halep’s serve at 5-3. Collins converted her first chance with a forehand win down the line.

The next pan-American struggle: Collins will now play her first match with compatriot Amanda Anisimova in the round of 16. Anisimova defeated 12th seed Belinda Bencic earlier on Wednesday.

“[Anisimova] “He’s a really aggressive player, I feel we have some similarities in our games,” Collins said. “It would be exciting to play each other for the first time.”

Badusa gets his first win: Spain’s No. 2 seed Paula Padusa joined Collins in the round of 16 with her evening win. It took Padusa an hour and 17 minutes to beat world 50th seed Aleksandra Sasnovic 6-2 6-1.

“I think it was more difficult than the result, especially the second set,” Padusa said afterwards. “I think she raised her level a lot and she was trying to achieve that every time, very aggressively. I had to take another step and play more aggressively, and I think I played really well, especially in the second set.”

Despite her lofty rating, this was Dodossa’s first match at International BNL d’Italia. After a first-round farewell, the world number 3 seed emerged victorious in her first appearance in the tournament, with 17 winners and a 75 percent success rate that sent Sasnovich second.

After saving a point for a break in the first inning, Padusa ran into a rupture, jumping to lead 5-0. Things got tricky from there, as Badosa saw five set points come and go in that match, allowing Sasnovich to be on the board.

Padusa lost two more points when Sasnovic broke 5-2. But Badosa earned an eighth point in the next match, which went in the Spaniard’s favour as Sasnovic let a forehand error fly a long way.

Padusa also needed four match points in the second set before winning another long forehand from Sasnovic. Sasnovic had seven break points in the match but only took advantage of one of those chances.

In the round of 16, Padusa will face Daria Kasatkina, who defeated Leyla Fernandez in the third set tiebreak on Wednesday. Padusa won their only previous encounter, which came on solid ground in the semi-finals for Sydney this year.

“[Kasatkina] “She is always a strong opponent, she plays very well,” Padusa said. “Her favorite surface is clay, so I expect a very tough match there. Lots of gatherings, and tough physically as well.”


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