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Danielle Collins stuns Elena Rybakina to win historic Miami title

Danielle Collins stuns Elena Rybakina to win historic Miami title
© Reuters
Danielle Collins clinches the biggest title of her career in her farewell season as she defeats Elena Rybakina in straight sets to win the Miami Open title.

Home favourite Danielle Collins clinched her inaugural Masters title in her farewell campaign with a terrific straight-sets win over Elena Rybakina in the final of the Miami Open.

The Florida-born 30-year-old - who is retiring from professional tennis at the end of the season - finally lifted a WTA 1000 trophy for the first time in her career with a 7-5 6-3 triumph over fourth seed Rybakina.

The 2022 Australian Open runner-up had never even reached the showpiece match of a Masters tournament prior to the 2024 Miami Open, only achieving one semi-final finish at the same tournament in 2018 before quarter-final exits in Miami, Canada and Qatar.

However, the world number 53 produced a defensive masterclass against the former Wimbledon champion, saving 10 of the 11 break points she faced to win just her third crown at the top level.

Meanwhile, Rybakina has now suffered defeat in two WTA 1000 finals this year, having also fallen short against Iga Swiatek in Qatar, as well as losing her three-game triumphant streak against champion Collins.

"I have worked so hard and it has taken a lot longer than a lot of the players on the tour," the American told Sky Sports Tennis. "Today was just surreal, coming out here and playing in front of so many people that were behind me.

Resilient Collins makes Miami history

"Having a whole stadium on my side was something so special - it is hard not to get emotional. It meant so much to me to get over this hurdle. It is just a really special moment."

After a cagey opening to Saturday's final, Rybakina ramped up the pressure on the Collins serve in the seventh game, but the 24-year-old squandered four chances to break and then found herself 15-40 down while serving to force a tie-breaker.

Rybakina managed to claw the 12th game back to deuce, but on Collins's third set point, the Kazakhstani overcooked a backhand to cede the opener, sparking a fist pump from the Florida native.

Rybakina responded straight away to falling a break down in the second set, but after letting another three chances to break Collins pass her by, the fourth seed lost serve in the eighth game to put the American on the brink of glory.

Despite failing to convert any of her first three match points, Collins's spirited side continued to come to the fore, as she beat away two more openings for Rybakina to break back before clinching the crown with a venomous cross-court backhand winner.

The 30-year-old was instantly overcome by emotion as she became the lowest-ranked woman to win the Miami Open, while she is just one of three to take the title for the first time after her 30th birthday, following in the footsteps of last year's winner Petra Kvitova and 1986 champion Chris Evert.

Following Collins's maiden Miami success, either Grigor Dimitrov or Jannik Sinner will be crowned the new men's champion in Sunday's second singles final.

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Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov pictured in January 2024
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