Jennifer Brady Into First Major Final

Jennifer Brady

2021 AUSTRALIAN OPEN: Melbourne, Australia

Then there was one.  One American woman remains in the singles draw of the first major of the season.  That one American woman may come as a surprise to many; however, do not be shocked.  [22] Jennifer Brady made her announcement on the big stage last year when she got to the semifinals of the US Open.

Still, did we think she would get to her first major final the following year?  That is what makes tennis exciting for me, who will shine.  Which player will finally marshal all their talents to produce the quality tennis necessary to challenge for the title?  If you are in the top hundred consistently, you are capable of playing quality tennis.  However, when you start challenging for titles, you are on another level. 

Brady Playing At A Higher Level

Brady has gotten to that level.  It was not flashy, it was not stunning, it was consistently putting in the work daily and believing.  It was “a hunger” to challenge self.  I listened to Brady a few times in post-match conferences and she is quiet and unassuming; yet the passion to excel is clearly visible. 

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In her second major semifinals, the American cam up against [25] Karolina Muchova (CZE).  The advantage went to the Czech player, who defeated Brady in their only previous meeting in 2019.  Yet, it was an awfully close match that was won in a third set tiebreaker; therefore, Brady knew today would also be a battle.

Brady Sharp In First Set

The pattern for the American to win the first set was re-established (in five of her six matches played, Brady won the first set, four of those were 6-1).  While not as dominant as her previous first set victories, it was a win.  Muchova fought back to win the second set.  The battle was fully engaged, but Muchova stumbled early in the final set.  Her forehand went awry and although resisted sternly in the tenth game, Muchova could not capitalize on break point opportunities. 

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Brady won the match  6-4, 3-6, 6-4 on a forehand error from her opponent.  Brady knows well her next opponent, [3] Naomi Osaka (JPN).  Osaka leads that head-to-head 2:1, but more important, she stopped Brady in the US Open semifinals last year.  Thus, the American may have a little revenge on her mind.  It was a three-set victory that could have gone Brady’s way, “if only”.  Therefore, I expect Brady will be better prepared mentally this time around.

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