Danielle Rose Collins competed in the U.S. Open with an "NR" next to her name for "Not Ranked." She was the only member of the draw with such a line, which gives the impression that Collins lacks experience.
And at least as a professional, that's true. The 20-year-old St. Petersburg, Fla., native is a junior at the University of Virginia. After winning the 2014 NCAA championships, Collins earned a wild card berth to the U.S. Open.
When Collins took the court on Monday afternoon, she played for more than a spot in the second round. She was playing to stay out of Virginia's opening day of classes on Tuesday.
Lining up across from second-seeded (and world No. 2) Simona Halep at Arthur Ashe Stadium is one way to end the summer. Collins looked to take that experience a step further. She nabbed the first set from Halep, 7-6, igniting the American crowd.
The next two sets brought Collins back to earth as a college student as Halep prevailed 6-1 and 6-2.
A more-experienced, but hungrier Collins addressed her situation after the match.
"Well, we'll probably try to look into flights and stuff tonight or tomorrow, unfortunately, so it's going to be a quick turnaround," she said. "Then first day of classes is tomorrow. I'll be in class this time tomorrow.
Perhaps this is a time Collins wishes Virginia was on trimester or quarter system.
"I love UVA, but school's tough," Collins added. "School is very tough. So back to work for me."
In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times last week, Collins discussed her status:
"I'm going to finish up at Virginia. I'm missing a few days of school because of this, but my professors have been understanding. Once this is over then I'll go back to Virginia and get to work. I plan on getting two degrees. I'm majoring in media studies and drama. I hope to one day be a sports reporter. As for tennis, we'll see how it goes. If I'm still playing well when I graduate, then I'll try to make a living at it."
After she won a set at the U.S. Open, Collins' own sense of talent may change. She called playing in a Grand Slam a "bucket list" item that can be checked off, but she also is starting to look ahead. After taking a set at Arthur Ashe Stadium at age 20, goals can quickly turn.
"I think there is a lot of positive things to take from it," she said. "It can only go up from here for me. I have never played at that level and I have never played in a stadium like that. It was amazing. I mean, I could get used to that."
Collins will be back on the grind for the Cavaliers, although NCAA rules permit her to compete in some pro tournaments. As part of her 2014 NCAA championship, Collins also earned a berth in the qualifying draw of the Connecticut Open earlier in August. She lost in her opening qualifier.
Collins will arrive in Charlottesville with a different swagger than most of her classmates. Rather than dread hitting the books, Collins is riding her U.S. Open wave.
"I don't think a lot of people were expecting me to take a set off of her, so overall, [it was] an incredible experience. That's something I'll never forget," Collins said.
Of course, despite all the excitement, there are realities. Danielle Rose Collins is about to be a student again.
"Summer was too much fun," she said.
For one hour and 58 minutes, Collins was in America's spotlight. Summer lovin', happened so fast.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.