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Naomi Osaka beats Jennifer Brady to win her second Australian Open
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|Naomi Osaka beats Jennifer Brady to win her second Australian Open by Kenyans247(1): Sat 20, February, 2021 01:55pm|
Australian Open 2021 Women's final: Japan's Naomi Osaka will take her perfect record in Grand Slam deciders into the Australian Open final on Saturday, where she will attempt to make it four out of four at the expense of America's Jennifer Brady.
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Feb 20, 2021 - 15:51 (IST)
Jennifer Brady speaks after the match:
Hello everyone, first I would like to congratulate Naomi on another Grand Slam title, what she's doing is amazing and I hope young girls watching are inspired her. I would also like to congratulate her team, you guys are doing something special and she's getting better every day.
I would like to say thanks to my team, Michael and Daniel. Without them I wouldn't be where I was, let's keep working and doing more.
Thanks to Craig Tiley and his team. I was in quarantine, and they worked hard to make sure everything was just right.
Thanks to all the ball kids, umpires and everyone who came out here to watch and support us. Thanks to everyone at home, I know my mum is sitting at home and watching the tv crying.
It was special to play my first Grand Slam final in front of fans. Hopefully there will be many more.
Feb 20, 2021 - 15:26 (IST)
Jennifer Brady* 4-6, 2-5 Naomi Osaka (* denotes next server)
Great play from Jennifer Brady, she's not going down without a fight. She absolutely blitzes to a service hold. Osaka begins her service game with two huge serves which Brady cannot return, and then loses a point after a lengthy rally when her forehand clips the top of the net and bounces out of play. Some more excellent play from the Japanese star takes her to 40-15, before an identical error involving the net makes it 40-30. Brady misses a forehand, and Brady will now serve to stay in the match!
Feb 20, 2021 - 15:20 (IST)
Jennifer Brady* 4-6, 1-4 Naomi Osaka (* denotes next server)
An error apiece, and it's 15-15. Surely this is a must-win game for Jennifer Brady, she has to break Osaka. She does well to take the game to 30-30, but a backhand winner from Osaka gives the Japanese star game point. Brady shows some real strength of character to dig deep and unleash a few quality forehands, and the third has enough firepower on it to evade the reach of Naomi Osaka. Deuce! Brady has advantage, and if she can break, it would do her confidence a world of good. She can't though, a rare long rally ends with an attempted slice from Brady that lands in the doubles alley. Deuce. Brady shows some good defence to force Osaka into a mistake, advantage to her again. Brady breaks! Great work from the American!
Feb 20, 2021 - 15:13 (IST)
Jennifer Brady 4-6, 0-4 Naomi Osaka* (* denotes next server)
Fairly straightforward service hold for Naomi Osaka, she races into a 40-0 lead before giving away a couple of points. But just as it looks like Brady might be able to push her a little, Osaka completes the hold with a lightning-quick ace. Brady looks at her wits end, there's nothing she can throw at Osaka that's causing her any problems. The unforced errors are also creeping up for Brady, she makes a couple of them to give Osaka break point on her serve. Brady buries a forehand in the net, and Osaka is up double break in the second set!
Feb 20, 2021 - 15:08 (IST)
Jennifer Brady 4-6, 0-2 Naomi Osaka* (* denotes next server)
What a start to the second set by Naomi Osaka! After holding her service game with ease, the Japanese World No 3 does really well to force the issue and apply some pressure on Jennifer Brady, who commits a series of mistakes to relinquish a break. Despite her momentary slip up in the first set, Osaka really does look like she's headed towards yet another Grand Slam title, and if there's anything Jennifer Brady is going to do about it, she should act quickly.
Feb 20, 2021 - 15:00 (IST)
Set 1 Stats
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Preview: Japan's Naomi Osaka will take her perfect record in Grand Slam deciders into the Australian Open final on Saturday, where she will attempt to make it four out of four at the expense of America's Jennifer Brady.
A second trophy at Melbourne Park would mean the 23-year-old from Japan has won half the majors she's contested since her first Slam title at the US Open final in 2018 — an infamous match forever remembered for Serena Williams's implosion.
Osaka's demolition of Williams in the semi-finals ended the 39-year-old's latest attempt to win a record-equalling 24th major, and reinforced the belief that the Japanese world number three heads a generation that is taking over from the American.
The quirky but increasingly confident Osaka has never lost after reaching the last eight of a Grand Slam, and is riding a 20-match winning streak that dates back a year.
She is now aiming to become the first woman's player since Monica Seles to win her first four Grand Slam finals.
"I have this mentality that people don't remember the runners-up," Osaka explained.
"I think I fight the hardest in the finals. I think that's where you sort of set yourself apart."
Osaka is the hot favourite against 22nd seed Brady, who is making her Grand Slam final debut after serving 14 days' hard quarantine before the tournament, unlike other players who were allowed out of their hotel rooms to train.
The pair first clashed as juniors in Florida seven years ago, when Brady won.
Osaka has won both their matches since with their rivalry hitting new heights in the second of those, last year's epic US Open semi-final.
Eventual champion Osaka prevailed 7-6 (7/1), 3-6, 6-3 in a nerve-jangling encounter, dubbed by some as the best match of the truncated 2020 season.
"Was probably (in the) top two matches I've played in my life," Osaka said of the classic at Flushing Meadows.
"I think the matches I remember the most when I'm having a very hard time. I think about that match a lot."
'She hits it huge'
Third seed Osaka believes she has sharpened her game since then, which will be crucial to blunt the strong-serving American.
"I play a little bit different now," said Osaka.
"I think my returns are better. I can't fully base everything on that match, but definitely it's something to reference."
Brady, 25, has not faced a higher-ranked player in her run to the final, helped by the exits of world number one Ashleigh Barty and defending champion Sofia Kenin on her side of the draw.
Having not lost a set until her three-set thriller against Karolina Muchova in the semis, Brady knows she is in for a fight against a player she long believed was destined for stardom.
"We grew up playing junior local tournaments in Florida," she said.
"I remember playing her, I was, like, 'Wow, she hits the ball huge. She's going to be good. She's got something special.'"
Brady, who "didn't really like" tennis as a youngster, but rekindled her love for the sport at college, has revelled in self-belief since her breakthrough in New York, but admitted the cauldron of a Slam final will be a new experience.
"I don't know how I'm going to feel on Saturday," she said.
"There are going to be moments, games, points where I'm going to be thinking... 'Wow, this could be my first Grand Slam title.'"
Despite being two years younger, Osaka is more experienced on the highest stage and said she has learned to be calmer about big-match occasions.
"I used to weigh my entire existence on if I won or lost a tennis match," she said. "That's just not how I feel any more."
With inputs from AFP.
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