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American tennis star Danielle Collins is headed to the Australian Open championship match.
The 28-year-old choked up discussing the sacrifices she's made to get to her first Grand Slam final.
"I worked at this every day," Collins said. "I gave up so much as a kid to get to where I am now."
Danielle Collins is on to the Australian Open final.
The 28-year-old American took down world No. 9 Iga Swiatek 6-4, 6-1 in Thursday's semifinal match at Rod Laver Arena to advance to the first Grand Slam final of her career.
After playing some of the best tennis of her life to reach what is, to this point, the pinnacle of her professional tennis tenure, Collins reflected on all of the hard work and sacrifices it's taken to make it this far. And in trying to relay that sentiment to former pro Jelena Dokic during her on-court post-match interview, she became emotional.
"It's been such a journey, and it doesn't just happen overnight," Collins said. "It's so many years of hard work and hours at an early age on court."
"Yesterday I was talking about all of the early mornings my dad would get up with me and practice with me before school," she added.
No professional athlete's journey to greatness comes without its struggles, but Collins has faced more adversity than most. The world No. 30 has been open about her battle with endometriosis, a disorder that causes the tissue lining the uterus to grow in other areas beyond the uterus itself.
The disease is often extremely painful and debilitating, as it has been for Collins throughout her career. Last April, she had to undergo emergency surgery to alleviate some of the pain.
Fast forward nine months, and she's one match away from a Grand Slam title.
"It's just incredible to be on this stage," Collins said. "Especially with the health challenges. I'm just so grateful and I couldn't be happier."
Collins expressed similar sentiments on Tuesday after defeating French star Alize Cornet in a hard-fought quarterfinal match. She spoke about how much it means to her "to be able to overcome" all of the obstacles she's faced in order to realize the dreams she's had since childhood.
"I've been playing tennis since I was 7 years old," Collins said as tears welled up in her eyes. "I worked at this every day. I gave up so much as a kid to be able to get to where I'm at now."
"The amount of hours I spent each day on the court playing at the park with my dad and him driving me around everywhere to try to get me the best resources to get to where I am today, and with the health challenges ... I know it means a lot to me," she added. "And I know it means a lot to my family as well."
Collins will now go up against world No. 1 and Australia native Ash Barty — who hasn't dropped a set in the tournament thus far — in the Australian Open final. The pair will face off Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Melbourne time, or 3:30 a.m. ET, at Rod Laver Arena.
Read the original article on Insider