NEW YORK — St. Petersburg native Danielle Collins put a scare into second-ranked Simona Halep, who had to rally on center court for a 6-7 (7-2), 6-1, 6-2 victory Monday in the opening match of the U.S. Open.
The unseeded Collins, 20, a 2012 Northeast High graduate, was playing her first main draw match at a tour-level event. As a sophomore at Virginia, Collins won the NCAA title to earn a wild-card berth.
Collins expected to quickly return to the college classroom.
"Summer was too much fun," she said.
Hobbled by injuries during the season, Collins rolled through the NCAA tournament to become the Cavaliers' first women's singles champion in May.
"It was amazing," Collins said of playing at Arthur Ashe Stadium. "I mean, I could get used to that."
Halep, a 22-year-old Romanian who lost in the French Open final to Maria Sharapova, has never advanced past the fourth round at the U.S. Open.
After the first set Halep took a bathroom break where she had a talk with herself. "I said, look, you have nothing to lose. Go on court and try your best," said Halep, who asserted that she can make herself believe she has nothing to lose, even as the world's No. 2.
Venus Williams, 34, beat 43-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. The combined age of 77 was believed to be the oldest for a women's Grand Slam pairing, the WTA said.
At one point, a bee interrupted Date-Krumm's serve. She refused to kill it. Later, a bee flew close to Williams. After Date-Krumm "showed such class" in handling the bee, "I would've been remiss to swat it," Williams said. She spent more than a minute trying to get away, waving and blowing at the bee. Eventually, three attendants corralled the bee with towels.
In men's play, Andy Murray gritted through head-to-toe cramps that included his left forearm, affecting his serve because he couldn't toss the ball correctly, and outlasted Robin Haase 6-3, 7-6 (8-6), 1-6, 7-5. "Cramping in my left forearm?" Murray said. "I mean, I didn't use my left forearm a whole lot."
Haase planned to complain to the ATP that he was denied treatment for a sore foot.
Nick Kyrgios had three code violations for fits of anger, one away from disqualification, in a 7-5, 7-6 (7-4), 2-6, 7-6 (7-1) win over Mikhail Youzhny.
"Some presents from him are good," Youzhny said. "But it didn't help me with the result."