The conditions will be cold and damp for 11th-seeded Garbine Muguruza’s clash against Danielle Collins, but the tennis should be fiery. The two met last year in Rome with Muguruza squeaking out a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory.
It’s been a tough road for Collins since reaching the 2019 Australian Open semifinals. A year ago, the American was diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis, but thanks to a change in her diet—no dairy, no gluten, mostly plant based foods—she’s feeling better than ever.
"This has been the healthiest that I've been the last four, five months," she said. "And I think a lot of it has to do with the diet,” Collins said on the TENNIS.com Podcast.
It wouldn’t be the first time an athlete has benefited from adopting a mostly plant-based diet. Novak Djokovic, Venus Williams, Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving, and Lewis Hamilton all credit at least some of their success to increased plant consumption.
While you would think Muguruza owns a significant advantage on clay, that’s not necessarily the case. Collins grew up playing on green-clay courts in Florida and is very effective on the surface. She combines aggressive power with surprisingly deft feel.
Collins will need to hit her forehand well in order to have a chance at upsetting the 2016 Roland Garros champion. If Collins can consistently hit her forehand down the line, she will set up her money-making two-handed backhand.
It’s important Collins stays down on the forehand, as she has a tendency to pop up, seen below from her 2019 match against Muguruza.
But when she stays down and through the shot, it’s quite effective, and sets up her backhand, which she can crack cross court or down the line with equal confidence.
Muguruza is listed as a hefty (-400) favorite, which seems a little steep given Collins' extremely impressive second-round performance against the talented Clara Tauson (who defeated Jennifer Brady in the first round).
Adverse conditions typically serve as an equalizer, so don’t be surprised if the American pulls off the upset.
The Pick: Danielle Collins