Aryna Sabalenka outlasts Danielle Collins in the clash of tennis titans in Madrid

Sabalenka came from behind to beat Collins in three roller coaster sets
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On one side of the tennis court was the 2023 and 2024 Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka who has been in a bit of a slump since blowing through the opposition in Melbourne in January without dropping a set.

On the other side of the court was Danielle Collins, riding a 15-match winning streak including wins at the Miami Open and Charleston Open. Collins is retiring at the end of the year and has never beaten Sabalenka in four previous meetings.

The two took the court for a late night match in Madrid, and there were plenty of fireworks. Collins had the better start and jumped out to a commanding lead before grabbing the first set 6-4.

Collins continued to play extremely well

Errors and frustration were coming from Sabalenka as Collins began cruising in the second set going up 4-3 with two games to the finish line. Sabalenka's momentum changed with a drop shot, lob, and a net court going her way in one game. She won three straight games and took the second set 6-4.

These fueled Sabalenka who started to play better, and Collins began to struggle. As noted by the Tennis Channel announcers Chanda Rubin and CoCo Vandeweghe, the amount of physical and emotional energy required to maintain a winning streak is massive. Collins started to miss shots we have not seen her miss in months. She was distracted by the crowd too. They were talking and being disruptive to her during points.

Sabalenka held on to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. She is now 7-4 since the Australian Open, and nine of those matches went the distance to three sets. It feels like this could be a momentum swing for Sabalenka, the defending champion, who has been exiting tournaments uncharacteristically early since Melbourne.

As for Collins, all good things must come to an end, and a 15 match winning streak is impressive. She has played a lot of tennis this spring and perhaps this early exit will give her a break because fans really want to see her contend in the Grand Slams and Olympics.

Sabalenka is in danger of losing her World No. 2 ranking to Coco Gauff so she needs to continue winning. She faces the newly minted 17 year old Mirra Andreeva (who celebrated her birthday on April 29) in the quarterfinals.

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