“I’ve idolized her my whole life. This is such a special moment. I’m just trying to wrap my head around it.” -Danielle Collins on her QF victory over her idol, Venus Williams #MiamiOpen pic.twitter.com/n7NQYT4GlB— WTA (@WTA) March 29, 2018
On Wednesday night after stunning Venus Williams at the Miami Open, Danielle Collins mentioned Eddie Herr, a tournament some may have never heard of.
"I haven’t played [Jelena Ostapenko] since Eddie Herr—that was a long time ago," Collins said. "So it’s going to be a totally different match. Just looking forward to another incredible opportunity."
The Eddie Herr International Junior Tennis Championships takes place each December at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. It's a prestigious event leading into the Orange Bowl with under-12, under-14, under-16 and under-18 age divisions. The past champion's list reads like a who's who of tennis infamy (Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic, Andy Roddick, Marin Cilic and Dominika Cibulkova, to name a few).
Collins takes on Ostapenko in the Miami Open semifinals on Thursday. The last time they faced off was in the first round of the 2011 Eddie Herr Championships when Collins was 18 and Ostapenko was just 14.
The draw shows that Collins won in three sets, and reached the third round as a wildcard (she's based at the IMG Academy). The top seed was Eugenie Bouchard and the eventual champion was Yulia Putintseva.
Since that 2011 meeting, Collins has picked up a college degree and two NCAA singles titles at the University of Virginia while Ostapenko went straight to the pro tour, winning the French Open last year.
No matter what happens in their semifinal, both Collins and Ostapenko will reach their career-high rankings come Monday (No. 53 and No. 5, respectively).