Danielle Collins wins 12th straight match, will face Daria Kasatkina in Charleston Open final

Danielle Collins. (Lynne Sladky/AP)

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Miami Open champion Danielle Collins won her 12th straight match and will play for a second straight title, defeating Maria Sakkari 6-3, 6-3 in the Charleston Open semifinals on Saturday.

Collins will go for lucky No. 13 in Sunday’s final against Daria Kasatkina, who beat top-seeded Jessica Pegula in a third-set tiebreaker.

“Another great week of tennis. I love coming out here and battling,” said the 30-year-old Collins, who has announced that this season will be her last. “This is what I live for. This is what I’m doing right now.”

Kasatkina won six of the final eight points for a 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (5) victory. She closed the match on a forehand pass with Pegula at the net. The Russian player bent deep at the knees with her hands covering her face in celebration.

“Being in the finals always gives you something extra special for some extra energy,” said Kasatkina, who played her third three-set match this week.

Collins’ victory was far less dramatic. The American powered past Sakkari for a 3-0 lead in the opening set, then took control once more by winning three straight games after her opponent tied things at 3-all.

Collins never trailed in the second set and closed out the match on Sakkari’s sixth double fault. She has won 24 of her last 25 sets.

Collins said at Miami, where she won the biggest title of her career, that she felt she was continually making improvements.

“Not just on one particular shot or one area, like physical fitness,” she said. “I think it was just improving, really, at everything.”

It will be the third time Kasatkina, the 2017 winner at this clay-court event, plays for a title this season. She was runner up to Jelena Ostapenko at Adelaide, Australia in January and to Elena Rybakina at Abu Dhabi a month later.

“I have to do it finally,” Kasatkina said. “I want so much” to win.

Kasatkina took a medical timeout in the third set and returned with a large wrap on her right thigh. Asked about any injury, a smiling Kasatkina said, “I don’t know yet.”

She hoped it was just a cramp after sliding during the first clay tournament of the season.

“I’m really proud of myself of how I was able to go through this difficult moment,” she said.

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