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Iga Swiatek avoids upset bid from Danielle Collins

Poland's Iga Swiatek celebrates after victory against USA's Danielle Collins during their women's singles match on day five of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 18, 2024. (Photo by Anthony WALLACE / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo by ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images)

Iga Swiatek came close to being another upset in the Australian Open’s second round on Wednesday, but managed to survive her second round match against Danielle Collins.

The top-ranked Swiatek was down 4-1 in the third set, but managed to rally against the 2022 Australian Open runner-up and take a 6-4 win to take the match. While Collins had three consecutive points to take a 5-2 lead, Swiatek managed the pressure and reversed the momentum.

“Oh my God, I don’t even know,” Swiatek said of how she managed to come back. “Honestly, I was on the airport already. But I wanted to fight to the end.

“I’m really proud of myself, because it wasn’t easy. I felt like I had the momentum going and then she started playing suddenly two times faster and I had no idea how to react to that for a couple of games. But I came back, and I thought the only thing I could focus on was myself. I stopped caring how she’s going to play, I just focused on myself.”

The win extends Swiatek’s win streak to 18 consecutive matches, the second-longest win streak of her career.

It was a triumphant effort from Swiatek, who lost to Collins in the semifinals at the Australian Open two years ago.

“She played just perfectly, but it would be hard for anybody to keep that level,” Swiatek said. “So I wanted to be ready when more mistakes are going to come from the other side. And I just wanted to push her, and I did that at the end.”

Collins, who announced after the match this will be her final season on tour, said she “left it all on the court.”

Elsewhere, fifth-ranked Jessica Pegula – a quarterfinalist in each of the last three years – was felled by Clara Burel in straight sets. It’s Pegula’s earliest exit in a Grand Slam since a second-round loss at Wimbledon in 2021.