Melbourne - Danielle Collins said her dream run to the Australian Open semi-finals on debut was no fluke Thursday and proved she was now a Grand Slam contender.
The American arrived at the season-opening major as a virtual unknown after playing most of her tennis on the US college circuit and exceeded expectations to make the final four.
Her run ended when two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova swept past her in straight sets to reach the Grand Slam decider.
Collins, 25, who prides herself on her feisty nature, was at her combative best early against the Czech eighth seed but faded to lose 7-6 (7/2), 6-0.
While disappointed to exit Melbourne Park, Collins said she had proved a point to her doubters after failing to win a match in all five of her previous Grand Slam campaigns.
"I definitely don't think anybody would have put their money on me to get this far in the tournament," she said.
"I've certainly been a big underdog. I think I've held that title really well, fought my hardest and I think that can be in there."
World number 35 Collins, who a year ago was ranked 167, will rise to 23 as a result of her run to the final four.
Her campaign included an extraordinary 6-0, 6-2 demolition of German world number two Angelique Kerber and she ousted three seeds on her way to the final four.
It built on a win over seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams at her hometown tournament in Miami last year which Collins did not feel had been given the recognition it deserved.
"Maybe some people thought I was a one-hit wonder, it was a fluke," she said.
"Clearly none of this has been a fluke. I think there is a lot of great things to build off of, and I think I had a really great learning experience throughout the entire tournament, especially today.
"So I'm really excited for my success to be recognised and to continue playing on the biggest stage and against the biggest and best opponents in the world."