Three times champion Azarenka, playing because of wildcard within her next event soon after an eight-month absence as a result of custody dispute involving her own son, revealed glimpses of the sort that took her into the top of the ranks but ultimately ran out of petrol contrary to her 13th-seeded opponent.
Jelena Ostapenko, of Latvia, waves to the fans after winning the match against Elina Svitolina, of Ukraine, during the Miami Open tennis tournament Wednesday, March 28, 2018, in Key Biscayne, Fla. Collins was undaunted, and kept apace with Ostapenko's heavy hitting - the gambit worked and she broke straight back to level the score.
Latvian Ostapenko needed successive tie-breaks to see off the world number four, eventually prevailing 7-6, 7-6 following two lengthy sets which lasted nearly an hour each.
2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens struggled to replicate her success after winning her first Major in NY in September.
The French Open champion had too much quality for American qualifier Collins in their semi-final and came through 7-6, 6-3 to secure an encounter with Sloane Stephens for the trophy.
The US Open champion punched her ticket for today's showpiece with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 semi-final win over former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus on Thursday.
"Really what it comes down for me is keep doing what I'm doing and just keep that feeling that I'm having on the court", he said. He underlined Ostapenko didn't need to distort her nature, to degenerate her offensive game but just to deliver an off-pace variation sooner or later.
The American may have lost the first set but she won arguably the point of the match in the sixth game with ones of the most incredible defensive displays imaginable.
"I knew I was going to have to fight and she came out strong but if I could keep it close, I had a chance and would get the opportunities", said the no 12 seed.
Ostapenko, playing her second Premier Mandatory semifinal as a favorite, saved a set point outplacing her opponent, forced to net a backhand.
If she can defeat Stephens, the Latvian would rise to a career-best No. 4 in the rankings.
"It's weird, what's going to happen to Crandon Park".
"I don't think it was my best night of tennis, but, I mean, there wasn't a shot she couldn't make", Williams said.
"I don't have any news to share with you right now", she said.
"I'm feeling fantastic now", said Latvian Ostapenko, who wore down Collins with a series of powerful groundstrokes.