Another marathon match. Another thrilling three-set battle. Another gritty victory for Danielle Collins.
The former Virginia tennis standout and two-time NCAA singles champion took on No. 19 Elise Mertens of Belgium on Sunday in the round of 16 of the Australian Open and emerged with another hard-fought comeback victory.
For the second match in a row, Collins opened the first set by winning the first three games, before faltering and losing six of the next seven games to concede the opening set to Mertens, 4-6.
Collins did well to reset and began the second set by winning the first three games again. Mertens and Collins held serve for the next five games and Collins took a 5-3 lead in the second set.
Then, Mertens broke Collins, who committed back-to-back unforced errors to lose the game and gave Mertens a chance to bring the set back to an even 5-5 score on her next service game.
Collins' response to the pressure in the next game was outstanding.
Without losing a single point, Collins broke Mertens, scoring three of the four points on winners to clinch the second set and force a deciding third set.
In the final set, Collins and Mertens held serve through the first two games, but Mertens managed to break Collins' serve in the third game to take a 2-1 lead.
Collins responded right away with by breaking Mertens' serve to tie the set at two games apiece. Both players held serve for the next five games as Collins took a 5-4 lead.
Collins went ahead 0-30 and 15-40 in the following game, but was unable to close out the match on either of those first two match points as Mertens fought back to deuce.
Collins earned a third match point on an impressive backhand winner. Then, Mertens committed a double fault to end the match as Collins emerged with the hard-fought 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win in a match that lasted two hours and 51 minutes.
For Collins, this is her second come-from-behind victory in a row after displaying a great deal of resilience in a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 win over Denmark's Clara Tauson in the third round on Friday.
With the win, Collins is on to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open for the second time in her career. Collins is set to face France's Alizé Cornet, who upset No. 14 seed Simona Halep in the fourth round. A victory over Cornet in the quarterfinals on Tuesday will earn Collins a return trip to Australian Open semifinals, equaling her deepest run in a Grand Slam tournament.
Collins is one of three Americans to advance to the quarterfinals of the women's singles bracket, joining Madison Keys and Jessie Pegula.
Danielle Collins also competed in the women's doubles tournament, partnering with fellow American Desirae Krawczyk. In the second round, Collins and Krawczyk defeated another American pairing, No. 13 seeds Jessica Pegula and Asia Muhammed, 6-3, 7-6.
Less than two hours after winning her near-three hour singles match against Mertens, Collins was back on the court alongside Krawczyk for their third round match against the Czech duo of Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, the No. 1 seeds in the women's doubles tournament. Collins and Krawczyk gave the top-seeded Czechs a good fight, but ultimately fell 4-6, 4-6.