French Open champion Ostapenko beat unseeded American Danielle Collins, staving off a set point en route to a 7-6 (1), 6-3 triumph.
Collins will now face sixth seed and reigning Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko in the semi-finals of the match of women's singles event. In Indian Wells defeated a rusty Victoria Azarenka 6-1 7-5 before falling to eventual runner-up Daria Kasatkina in the round of 32.
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) - Sloane Stephens has a simple approach to her game these days. Stephens capitalized on her mistakes and never looked back after that.
The first set alone took exactly one hour.
"The Williams sisters went through something similar, and that really resonates with me", she said, adding that having to blaze her own trail made her resourceful. The Roland Garros champion went to on to hold and asked for her coach, David Taylor, on-court when she was 5-4 up.
She won and was interviewed right after the match in front of the bleachers, close enough for the fans to listen in. "This is such a special moment, I'm just trying to wrap my head around it".
"And I think that was the most important thing, getting myself back in the best shape that I could be in, making sure that I was pain-free, that I wasn't going to get injured again, and making sure I was taking care of myself". Collins, credit to her, didn't make life easier for the Roland Garros champion who helped her opponent with a couple of backhand errors. The difference in terms of age and experience, however, became suddenly too heavy a toll for the American, graduate in Media Studies at the Virginia University. Collins, by contrast, served just a tick better than 50 percent but won 66 percent of them.
After racing into a 4-1 lead in the first set, Collins held her composure to win the set 6-2 and gave herself a great platform to build towards a win. One of those matches, an 8-6 third-set defeat to Aliaksandra Sasnovich, left her in tears.
Sloane Stephens is determined to write her name into the history books after she sealed a place in the WTA Miami Open final with a battling three-set victory over former world number one Victoria Azarenka here Thursday.
The Latvian hasn't lost to a player ranked so low as No.93 Collins since falling to No.127 Sorribes Tormo at 2016 Linz. Stephens, the 25-year-old from the United States, lost eight consecutive matches after winning the US Open in September. In contrast, Collins is yet to win a title on the WTA tour.