Australian Open: Kvitova overcomes extreme heat for spot in final

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova continued her comeback by beating Danielle Collins in the semifinals on Thursday.

Petra Kvitova celebrates after winning the semifinal match against Danielle Collins.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Petra Kvitova advanced to her first grand slam final since 2014 after overcoming the searing Melbourne heat and giant-killing Danielle Collins in straight sets at the Australian Open.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova's career was derailed when she was the victim of a knife attack in her home in December 2016.

However, the eighth seed continued her comeback with a 7-6 (7-2) 6-0 victory over unseeded American Collins at an uncomfortably warm Melbourne Park on Thursday.

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The Rod Laver Arena roof was closed at 4-4 in the first set after the new 'Heat Stress Scale' reached 5.0 as the temperature approached 40 degrees Celsius.

Kvitova benefitted from the indoor conditions, the Czech star racing through to the women's final against either US Open champion Naomi Osaka or Karolina Pliskova.

Collins had never won a main-draw match at a slam prior to this year's Australian Open but the 25-year-old schooled 2016 champion Angelique Kerber and upstaged seeds Julia Goerges and Caroline Garcia en route to the semis.

And Collins did not look overawed early, striking first in the fifth game on centre court, hitting an almost unplayable return as Kvitova fired the ball long to hand the unheralded American a 3-2 lead.

However, Kvitova broke back immediately with a winner down the middle as temperatures soared to dizzying heights in Melbourne.

And it was not long before officials opted to close the roof – Collins frustrated by the decision at the end of the eighth game.

Neither could be separated following the resumption of play, though the roof closure eventually benefitted Kvitova, who comfortably won the first-set tie-break.

Collins lost her way at the start of the second set, audibly venting her frustration with a couple of let and fault calls as Kvitova capitalised with an early break.

Kvitova completely dominated from that point, claiming another two breaks to race into her third slam final and first in five years after one hour, 34 minutes.