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St. Petersburg’s Danielle Collins wins first WTA Tour title

Collins, the top seed, beats Elena-Gabriela Ruse in the final of the Palermo Ladies Open.
St. Petersburg native Danielle Collins, seen here in a French Open match this year, wins her first WTA title in Italy on Sunday.
St. Petersburg native Danielle Collins, seen here in a French Open match this year, wins her first WTA title in Italy on Sunday. [ CHRISTOPHE ENA | AP ]
Published Jul. 26

PALERMO, Italy — Top-seeded and St. Petersburg native Danielle Collins won her first WTA title Sunday, beating qualifier Elena-Gabriela Ruse 6-4, 6-2 in the Palermo Ladies Open final.

The 44th-ranked Collins was playing in her first career final. Ruse was aiming for her second title in two weeks.

Collins, 27, lost a three-set quarterfinal to Ruse two weeks ago in Hamburg, where the Romanian went on to win as a qualifier.

Collins, who did not drop a set at the tournament, is the 14th first-time singles champion this WTA season. She has been playing regularly on the WTA Tour since 2018.

“It’s given me so much self-confidence to finally win a tournament, because I’ve been on tour now for a couple of years and that was one of my goals,” Collins said in a story on the WTA Tour website.

Ruse needed a medical timeout at 2-2 in the second set but later fought off three break points at 3-2. But Collins converted her fourth break point of that game with a backhand crosscourt winner that nicked the sideline.

At 5-2, another return winner gave Collins her first championship point, and she converted that chance.

“I’ve been improving, clearly, based on my results and being able to go longer with my stamina throughout the events,” Collins said. “That was my main goal in playing all of the tournaments the last four weeks. It was just really rewarding to think about.”