Three weeks ago, Danielle Collins was staring down the very real possibility of a first-round defeat to Taylor Townsend in Indian Wells. She turned that match around and then kicked her 2018 season into high gear, reaching the fourth round in the desert before racing into the Miami Open semifinals.

"I have put in the hard work my whole life, so at the end of the day, I know I have done literally everything I can do to put myself in the best situation," the world No. 93 said. "And if I win the match, I win the match and it's awesome. If I lose the match, I lose the match knowing that I did everything in my power to put myself in the best situation."

Her hot streak can be traced back a little farther. The 24-year-old was a wildcard entry into the BNP Paribas Open thanks to her WTA 125K title in Newport, Calif. at the end of January.

"Before Newport I had never won more than a round at a 125K. I just kept going," Collins told Baseline in Indian Wells. "Everyday we're working on different things and trying to apply them to my game. I know the task at hand. I'm on a roll right now and I'm playing really good tennis."

It's quite possible that she and everyone she has played didn't quite realize how good her tennis would get. In Miami, she had to grind through qualifying, and has since upset the likes of CoCo Vandeweghe, Monica Puig and her idol Venus Williams.

Collins rides hot
streak past Venus
Williams in Miami

Collins rides hot streak past Venus Williams in Miami


"I've been on tour a little bit over a year now and I'm starting to get more experience under my belt," Collins said after her win over Madison Keys in Indian Wells. "The biggest thing with my most recent wins is it shows me I belong at this level."

Williams may be Collins' favorite player but she had little hesitation in dispatching the 37-year-old 6-2, 6-3 on Wednesday night.

"The first time I saw Venus in the locker room I nearly cried," Collins said on court. "I've idolized her my whole life and she's been my favorite player for forever. This is such a special moment. I'm just trying to wrap my head around it."

Collins has burst onto the scene from an untraditional route, playing four years at the University of Virginia (where she won two NCAA singles titles) before taking her skills to the tour. She'll jump nearly into the Top 50 thanks to her 10-1 tear over the past three weeks.


"She played very well and aggressively, and she went for every shot and it landed," Williams said. "I mean, there's going to be some days where they don't land, but that wasn't today."

Williams was a local favorite, but so is Collins. She's based at the IMG Academy in her native Bradenton, Fla. where she's put in the work with coaches Pat Harrison and Tom Hill, and made plenty of changes for the better.

"I really made a commitment that when I'm on the court I'm going to have a positive attitude and I'm not going to be a brat," she said. "Sometimes I think it's challenging when you're on the road so much, going from tournament to tournament, people get tired and cranky. The biggest thing is always having good energy and making sure you're happy and keeping a good perspective."