WTA / ATP: Collins at the double, Berrettini is back

The clay season is building momentum on the Road to Roland-Garros 2024

Danielle Collins / Miami 2024©Virginie Bouyer / FFT
 - Alex Sharp

The dusty socks, sliding into shots, the artistic shadows on the dirt, it can only mean one thing. It's clay season!

With a trip to Paris on the horizon next month, players are transitioning onto the surface in style. Here are the key storylines from another action-packed week on Tour…

Different surface, same "Danimal"

Straight from a hard-court title triumph at the WTA1000 Miami, American Danielle Collins went back-to-back in Charleston on Sunday.

The 30-year-old won her 13th successive match with a blazing 6-2, 6-1 scoreline over No.4 seed Daria Kasatkina to signal two trophy lifts in two weeks.

Up seven spots to world No.15 as her reward, Collins defied the likes of Sloane Stephens, Elise Mertens and Maria Sakkari with commanding displays. Ons Jabeur was the only player to take a set off the fired-up Collins, who is thriving in a purple patch of form since announcing 2024 is her final season.

The last player to win in Miami and Charleston in the same year was a certain Serena Williams in 2013. Collins is unleashing that sort of dominance.

"I had a lot of matches in Miami, and I had a lot of matches here," said Collins. "I had, at one point in this tournament, two matches in one day, which is not easy to pull off. I don't know if I've done that before as a professional. I feel like the last time I did that was like in 12-and-unders.

"To be able to physically battle and push myself to a new limit gives me a lot of confidence. I've been so happy to be playing at the level that I've been playing, but to be able to back it up two weeks in a row has just been fantastic."

Berrettini is back with a bang

With a sledgehammer serve and forehand, Wimbledon 2021 finalist Matteo Berrettini is too good to keep down.

The former world No.6 has endured a couple of injury-maligned seasons, but burst back into prominence in Marrakech, where the 27-year-old was featuring in just his third event after missing six months due to an ankle injury.

Berrettini halted defending champion Roberto Carballes Baena 7-5, 6-2 to claim his eighth career title and first trophy since June 2022 at Queen's Club in London.

“I want to thank my team,” said Berrettini, climbing 51 positions to world No.84. “It’s been a tough past couple of years and thanks to them I was able to overcome all the tough moments. My body wasn’t allowing me to play.

"All the people that made my comeback possible. All my friends, my family, people that were with me all the times when I was sad and injured, and I didn’t think I could make it, so thank you very much.”

Shelton the hero in Houston

The firsts keep on coming in the soaring career of Ben Shelton.

The 21-year-old arrived in Houston, USA, with just a 2-7 tour-level record on clay, however, the top-seeded American departed with the title on Sunday and a new career-high ranking of No.14.

Shelton defeated his close friend and compatriot Frances Tiafoe in a captivating 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 final en route to his maiden clay court success.

With his booming shots and all-court athleticism, Shelton is one to watch as we approach Roland-Garros 2024!

Hubi returns to the Elite 8

Like Shelton, Hubert Hurkacz tasted first-time title glory on clay at the weekend.

The amiable Pole capped an impressive serving week in Estoril, Portugal, by overcoming Pedro Martinez 6-3, 6-4 to lift up his eighth career trophy.

“I’m so happy with my performance today,” said Hurkacz, firing down 15 aces past the Spaniard. "I’m proud that I found my serve and that definitely helped me a lot. Pedro is such a great competitor. I needed to play really great tennis to compete with him and fortunately I did it.

“Obviously it is something special to play in a final. There was such a great crowd, a great atmosphere. It’s an amazing tournament."

Hurkacz climbs back to his joint-career high ranking of world No.8 and now heads to Monte Carlo, where he'll take on Jack Draper at the first hurdle.

Osorio rediscovers the love

Home is where the heart is for Camila Osorio.

The 22-year-old captured her first WTA crown on the same courts in Bogota back in 2021 and welcomed a return to form in Colombia once again.

Osorio was seeking back-to-back match wins for the first time in this season, but found her groove to then topple top seed Marie Bouzkova 6-3, 7-6(5) to land the silverware.

"I've been struggling a lot the last few years with injuries and other things," Osorio told WTA Insider.

"But now that I get my second title, it's just an amazing feeling for me, a relief also. I know I need to keep working harder. There are other things I still want to do in tennis."

Musetti the centurion

The Monte Carlo Masters is top of the agenda this week.

In the early headlines, Lorenzo Musetti chalked up his 100th career victory with a 6-4, 6-4 passage past Taylor Fritz.

Last season the flamboyant Italian defeated world No.1 Novak Djokovic in a quarter-final run and they could reunite in the Principality in the Last 16. First up, Musetti must prevail past the winner of the all-French duel between Arthur Fils and Adrian Mannarino.

Second seed Jannik Sinner, facing Sebastian Korda or Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev represent a strong field at the the prestigious Monte-Carlo Country Club, as well as reigning champion Andrey Rublev.