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Danielle Collins sets up Australian Open final with Ashleigh Barty

Danielle Collins sets up Australian Open final with Ashleigh Barty
© Reuters
Danielle Collins sets up an Australian Open final showdown with Ashleigh Barty after seeing off Iga Swiatek 6-4 6-1 in Thursday's semi-final.

The USA's Danielle Collins reached the first Grand Slam final of her career after sinking Iga Swiatek in straight sets during their Australian Open semi-final on Thursday.

Collins raced into a 3-0 lead in the first set before Poland's Swiatek started to find her stride, but the American still raced to a 6-4 win before a dominant showing in the second set.

Serving seven aces and winning six of her 10 break points on the day, Collins marched to a 6-4 6-1 win at the Rod Laver Arena and now prepares to meet world number one and home favourite Ashleigh Barty for a shot at glory.

"It feels amazing, it's been such a journey, and it doesn't happen overnight, so many hours at an early age on court," Collins said during her on-court interview. "It's incredible to be on this stage and especially with the health challenges I've had. I'm so grateful, I couldn't be happier.

"I have certainly added a little more variety to my game over the last couple of years, but this is my Plan A. I wanted to execute this game plan as best as I could, and it was working really well for me.

"For whatever reason in this tournament this clock seems to be going faster, and I don't really feel like I have time to sit down! I've been standing up when I sleep at night!"

Looking ahead to Saturday's final with Barty, Collins responded: "To play against the number one player in the world in her home country is going to be really special. It's so good to have everyone back after COVID and I can't wait to hopefully have a great match with Ash."

Earlier on Thursday, Barty booked her place in the final by easing to a 6-1 6-3 win over Collins's compatriot Madison Keys, and the two players are meeting for the first time since Collins won in straight sets during the 2021 Adelaide International last February.

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Ashleigh Barty pictured at the Australian Open on January 27, 2021
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Ashleigh Barty cruises past Madison Keys into Australian Open final

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