As Danielle Collins watched a Karolina Muchova forehand sail wide to give her a 7-3 lead in a super tiebreak on Wednesday night, the American dropped her racquet, flung her arms in the air and clasped her hands.
The only problem was she hadn’t yet won the Australian Open match.
Perplexed, the 2022 Australian Open finalist strolled toward the chair umpire, who reminded her they were playing a super tiebreak.
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Therefore, she had to compile 10 or more points with a two-point lead.
Collins mistakenly thought they were contesting a traditional tiebreak, which is decided when a player registers seven or more points with a two-point buffer.
The tournament’s 13th seed saw the humour in her early celebration, laughing as she wandered back to the baseline to resume the match.
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“At least she can laugh about it,” said commentator Jill Craybas on Nine’s coverage.
“Well you’re going to have to laugh about it; it’s too serious a moment, isn’t it?” added co-commentator Mark Petchey.
What followed was a growing sense of unease; Muchova closed the deficit to 7-4, then 7-5, and, shortly after, 8-6.
“Oh my goodness,” Petchey said when Muchova began eating away at Collins’ lead.
“That might be not that easy to push out of your mind, Jill.
“And the tension you can cut with a knife right now,” Petchey added as Collins and Muchova switched ends.
Petchey continued to dwell on Collins’ early celebration.
“Well you can plan for almost every eventuality in a tennis match,” said the former English tennis professional.
“But when you don’t know the rules, that is one thing that can really through you off your game.”
Collins did have the match won when the Czech Republic’s Muchova hit a forehand long, sealing a 6-7 (1), 6-2, 7-6 (6) victory for the 29-year-old.
Collins hadn’t played a super tiebreak in a grand slam before Wednesday night, which goes some way to explaining her misjudgment.
The two rivals treated the Margaret Court Arena crowd to two hours and 54 minutes of enthralling action, before the match drew to its close at 1.11am.
Collins is now eyeing a third-round clash with No.22 seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan.
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