The American Danielle Collins
Photo: MICHAEL ERREY / AFP
Actually, agony and struggle are closely intertwined with the career path of tennis player Danielle Collins.
But on Wednesday it was quick and painless: she only needed 88 minutes for her 7: 5 and 6: 1 success over Alizé Cornet from France in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.
A cracking forehand from the American, played diagonally over the net, ended the one-sided game.
Collins, who qualified for the last four in Melbourne for the second time since 2019, let out a short but very loud yell.
She had already done that after the difficult and long matches against Elise Mertens from Belgium in the round of 16 and before that against Clara Tauson from Denmark.
Collins needed three sets in both games, and the matches lasted well over two and a half hours.
Such efforts are more in keeping with Collin's career.
Physically, the 28-year-old said, she went beyond her limits in these games.
When the hard work was finally done and everything fell away, she looked more combative than relieved.
"Danimal" is what Collins is affectionately called by her fans for her combative performances.
She likes the nickname, a mix of her first name Danielle and the English word for animal "Animal".
Collins calls herself that on social media and also wears the nickname as a lettering on her tennis bag.
Collins works tennis, you could see that against Cornet from the start.
She plays risky and with a lot of aggressiveness.
The number 30 in the world rankings literally crosses her shots, trying to hit the balls extremely early shortly after they have bounced off the ground.
A quality shared by Iga Świątek, Collins' rival in Thursday's semifinals, that makes her game so uncomfortable and challenging for her opponents.
Collins turned pro late, only 22. And if she stays injury-free this season, it would only be Collins' fourth full season on the tour.
The college champion won her first and only two WTA titles in 2014 and 2016 at the mature tennis age of 27.
Painful illnesses keep stopping Collins
Last summer she triumphed at the tournaments in Palermo and San José in quick succession.
In general, she has only lost six of 34 matches since mid-July, including the game against Cornet.
Her run also has something to do with being free of health problems for the first time in many years.
In April 2021, a cyst was removed from an ovary.
But it took years to diagnose endometriosis, an extremely painful condition that affects an estimated one in ten women.
Collins gave remarkably open information about her martyrdom during this time on the sidelines of the Australian Open.
"Before the diagnosis and surgery, I had reached a level that was almost unbearable," she said after the match against Mertens.
Her body gradually got used to the pain over the years.
"Taking anti-inflammatories is normal, as are painful cycles, doctors told me."
Collins finally got to a point where she didn't know what to do anymore.
Only the fourth or fifth doctor made the correct diagnosis.
"It was like a mental release."
For Collins, endometriosis was the second major health issue she had to deal with in her athletic career.
Four years ago, the 28-year-old was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that causes painful swelling in her joints.
Medications help her get this problem under control.
Collins, as she is showing at the Australian Open, was able to win the fight against her own body just in time.
Now, also because her quality of life has improved significantly, she is one thing above all: »really free«.