Danielle Collins completed a fairytale run at the Miami Open by winning the biggest title of her career just a few months before retiring. The world No. 53 previously announced that she would be hanging up her racket at the end of the year. And she had the send-off she deserved at her home tournament, beating Elena Rybakina 7-5 6-3 to claim the crown.

Playing in the Miami Open for the last time in her career, Florida native Collins stepped out for her maiden WTA 1000 final. The stage was set for a fitting goodbye if the 30-year-old could lift the trophy at her home tournament in her last year on the tour but standing in her way was Rybakina.

The world No. 4 and last year’s runner-up had taken the scenic route to reach the final, with four of her five matches in Miami going the distance. In comparison, Collins dropped her first set of the tournament before winning 12 in a row and was arguably the more in-form player coming into the final, despite being ranked 49 spots lower than Rybakina.

The Kazakh saved a break point early on before having four of her own in the lengthy seventh game of the match. Collins tried to play on her home advantage, encouraging the crowd to get loud, and roared as she held on to lead 4-3. The 30-year-old dug herself out of another tricky service game at 5-5, saving a fifth break point of the set.

She was rewarded for her relentless efforts in the next game as Rybakina was forced to fend off a couple of break points. But Collins proved relentless and converted her third opportunity when the world No. 4 sent a ball long, taking a 7-5 lead with an hour on the clock.

The 24-year-old left the court for a comfort break between sets though it was Collins who started the second set with a bang, firing down winners and earning an immediate break. But Rybakina refused to let her run away with it and played an impressive return game to break Collins for the first time.

Like in the first set, Collins was put to the test in a monumental seventh game of the second set. The world No. 53 saved two break points and sat down with the lead, putting herself within two games of the title. She sensed her opportunity, jumping in celebration as she started the next game with a lob winner.


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