“I have eternal respect for the Grand Slam winner because it’s such a long way; my God, I have the feeling I’m playing this tournament for a year,” Cornet said. “I’m so exhausted mentally, physically. When you go all the way and win these freaking seven matches, it’s just huge.”
In a Thursday evening semifinal, Collins will face the seventh-seeded Iga Swiatek of Poland, who needed more than three hours to beat the Estonian Kaia Kanepi, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3, later Wednesday afternoon.
Thursday’s first semifinal will pit the top-seeded Australian Ashleigh Barty against the unseeded American Madison Keys. If Collins and Keys both win, it will set up the first all-American final in Melbourne since Serena Williams beat her sister Venus in 2017.
Collins, 28, first reached the semifinals here three years ago in a breakout run that confirmed her arrival from collegiate standout at the University of Virginia to elite professional.
Apart from her physical improvements, Collins said that some of her biggest mental growth came in late 2020 on a very different surface: when the American doubles specialist Bethanie Mattek-Sands took her rock climbing in Arizona.