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'Emotional' Collins wins Miami Open on her final try

AP PHOTO

Danielle Collins has enjoyed the perfect send-off at her final Miami Open, beating Elena Rybakina 7-5 6-3 to capture the title in her home state.

The 30-year-old Collins announced at the Australian Open in January that this season would be her last.

"I'm really ready to hold that trophy," said a teary-eyed Collins, who was born and raised in Florida.

"It was a battle. I've played a lot of tennis, a few finals, and nothing close to this.

"In my home state, to come out here in front of thousands of my best friends pushing me to get over this hurdle, I was getting very emotional.

"It was an incredible environment. I've never experienced anything like it."

No.53 in the world, the unseeded, Collins was animated throughout the two-hour match against her fourth-ranked rival from Kazakhstan.

On her fourth match point, Collins hit a backhand crosscourt winner, then bent over for several seconds without moving, seemingly in disbelief.

"That game took a lot out of me and Elena was pushing me all around the court," she said.

"At the end I was just like, 'Thank God'. It all caught up to me."

It was a third career title - and the first since San Jose in 2021 - for Collins, who became the lowest-ranked women's champion at Miami.

She leaves with $US1.1 million ($A1.7 million) in prize money and will move up to 22nd in the rankings.

In winning the first set in an hour, Collins survived four break points at 3-3. She closed out that game and faced another break-point crisis at 5-5.

Collins won three straight points - a backhand winner, a service winner and a forehand passing shot - as the crowd roared.

Rybakina, the 2022 Wimbledon champion, saved two break points while trying to serve her way into a tiebreaker.

Collins finally seized the set as her opponent nervously poked a backhand deep on the third set point.

The local favourite got off to a fast start in the second set with an early break.

Rybakina broke back but then squandered three break points at 3-3, hitting two straight backhands long, giving Collins the momentum.

Collins broke at 4-4 as the 2023 Australian Open finalist hit a swinging volley into the net, then pounded another backhand long on break point.

"Physically I was not at my best so I couldn't push myself," Rybakina said.

"Maybe I should have maybe just risked a little bit more when I had these break points."