Australian Open: Elise Mertens’ adventure ends in the round of 16 (videos)

No second quarter-final at the Australian Open for the Belgian nº1 who nevertheless struggled for nearly 3 hours (2h51) in the heat of Melbourne to extend her course. But the tension of the match and a very aggressive opponent got the better of his best will.

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Dn the heat of Melbourne and in front of a sparse audience on the Rod Laver Arena (with all the same some Belgian flags), Elise Mertens was immediately taken by the throat by the aggressiveness of Danielle Collins. The American, known for her extreme motivation, had decided to take control of the match and, with a very effective backhand, she quickly led 0-3!

Elise Mertens was pushed into the ropes, unable to let go of her punches or find depth. However, thanks to her experience, she did not panic. Better, she managed to finally relax and, little by little, rebalance the exchanges, and the score: 3-3 after 29 minutes.

The tension was palpable during this round of 16 where the two players felt the feat was within their reach. Collins grew more and more tense on his serve, while Mertens finally found the right length, while varying his strikes more. And the soul of the meeting changed since it was Mertens who escaped at 5-3. Also with this “new service” capable of offering her free points, the Limburger had just scored five games in a row. She had her first set point on the American’s serve, but she had to wait for the 3rd, on her serve, to pocket this odd set on the score of 6-4 after 57 minutes!

The second set began again with a break on the service of the Belgian nº1 and Collins who flew away again at 0-3, again taking advantage of her opponent’s too wait-and-see game. Collins, visibly hit in the back, then tried everything for everything, shortening the exchanges as much as possible, which had the gift of disturbing Mertens, led 1-4 when we had been playing for 1h30 in this sultry Australian. She saved another ball from 1-5 before coming back to 4-5 with serve to follow! But uninspired in this second round, Mertens let Collins equalize at one set everywhere, somewhat miraculously…

Collins no longer sat, no change, but managed to keep his focus on the bad and on his tennis, more precise, more aggressive.

Ups and downs, this tense meeting, there was no shortage of them. In the third set, Mertens first saved two balls from 0-2 before escaping at 2-1, but being caught directly at 2-2.

As we exceeded 2h30 of play, the two opponents were above all trying to survive in this decisive 3rd set in the terrible heat: 3-3, then 4-4. Collins pressured Mertens at 4-5. The Limbourgoise first saved two match points, but cracked on the third ball by committing a terrible double fault: 6-4, 4-6, 4-6 in 2h51.

The general impression is that it was above all Collins who went for this quarter-final, in pain, while we especially felt the Belgian nº1 very tense throughout the meeting. Elise Mertens must now console herself with the double alongside the Russian Veronika Kudermetova. The duo will challenge, this Tuesday in the quarter-finals, the pair formed by Sara Sorribes-Tormo and… Kirsten Flipkens.

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