Danielle Rose Collins, who won the NCAA Championship this year, made it a quick turn at the Open.
The 20 year-old was ousted by the No. 2 seed Simona Halep, 6-7 6-1 6-2.
“Well, I mean, it’s obviously an incredible experience,” said the University of Virginia student. “It was my childhood dream to play in a Grand Slam and to play in the US Open. I got that off the bucket list. I obviously had a really good experience taking a set off the No. 2 ranked girl in the world. I think there is a lot of positive things to take from it. It can only go up from here for me. Obviously a big confidence booster. You know, I don’t think a lot of people were expecting me to take a set off of her, so overall, an incredible experience. I mean, that’s something I’ll never forget.”
As a US Player, she had the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd behind her. She was took the first set off Halep, but it was just too much for her after with, even though Collins was able to take the first game in the third.
“I think a lot of times people get a little bit intimidated if they focus too much on who they’re playing against, especially if you’re looking at it, like, oh, you’re playing Simona Halep or you’re playing the No. 2 girl in the world,” she said. “I kind of threw all of that out the door and took the pressure off myself and just really focused on the things I could do and the things that I could control.”
Winning the NCAA was definitely a help for Collins, who credits her confidence in the tournament for her eventual win.
“I think it was mainly surprising just because of a lot of the injuries that I was dealing with throughout the year,” she said. “But, you know, I work with two really great coaches and they have always had a lot of confidence and faith in me. You know, I feel like when you surround yourself with good people, it makes everything a lot more easier. So I was always really confident and believed in myself leading up to the end of the tournament, and so I went in there with the attitude, you know, I can do this and I can, you know, play with these girls and beat these girls. That was like the main thing that helped me and led me to winning.”
Now it’s back to school. It’s off to the airport and back in class tomorrow. But this won’t be the last we hear of her, as she plans to play in more professional tournaments later this year.
“That’s going to be the plan, to play some more pro tournaments,” Collins said. “Maybe play a couple pro tournaments during the fall season. Fortunately we are allowed to do that, so that will be more experience I can get under my belt for the future.”
Keep an eye out for her.