Melbourne - Australian Open dark horse Danielle Collins says she wants to be at her fiery best battling in-form Petra Kvitova Thursday for a spot in the Australian Open final.
The unheralded Collins will face Czech eighth seed Kvitova in the semi-finals, with the other final four clash pitting Japan's US Open champion Naomi Osaka against another Czech, seventh seed Karolina Pliskova.
Collins, the only American still standing after Pliskova ousted 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams in the quarter-finals, is intent on extending her debut run at Melbourne Park into the decider.
The world number 35, who has mostly played on the US college circuit, arrived at this year's tournament as an unknown after failing to win a match in five previous Grand Slam appearances.
But she grabbed the tennis world's attention with a 6-0, 6-2 drubbing of second seed Angelique Kerber on her way to the final four.
Collins also demonstrated her ability to grind out a win in a tough three-setter against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and said she relished proving herself on tennis' biggest stage.
The 25-year-old has adopted an aggressive approach during her campaign, yelling in Kerber's face as she served the stunned three-time Grand Slam champion a 6-0 "bagel".
She expects to be equally spiky against Kvitova, who is vastly more experienced than the American, and has two Wimbledon crowns.
"Nerves are a natural part of it. I think I embrace it well. I go out fiery and feisty, no matter what," Collins said.
She has played Kvitova once before, at the Sydney International earlier this month, when she pushed her opponent to tie-breakers in the first two sets before the Czech prevailed in the third.
"She's an incredible champion, has gone through a lot," Collins said. "We had a really great battle a couple weeks ago, one of the best matches I've played and I didn't even win. So I'm very familiar with her."
Fourth seeded Osaka has a 2-1 losing record against Pliskova, including their most recent meeting in the final of the 21-year-old's home tournament in Tokyo.
The lanky Czech is also on a 10-match winning run but may be drained after her stunning comeback against Williams, when she survived four match points then stormed home in a thriller that went for more than two hours.
The former world number one said the win was a huge confidence booster before facing Osaka.
"She's dangerous but nobody is more dangerous than Serena," said the 26-year-old Pliskova, who is chasing a maiden Grand Slam.
Osaka said she was feeling no pressure after her career breakthrough at Flushing Meadows last year but was expecting a challenge against Pliskova.
"She's really tough to play. Like, I can barely read her serve, so it's very difficult for me," she said.