Naomi Osaka will look to keep her record perfect when she makes a Grand Slam quarterfinal tonight in Melbourne against American upstart Jennifer Brady.
Osaka, who is 11-0 when reaching a Slam final, is seeking her 4th career title at this level. Brady is appearing in her first Grand Slam final.
The two just met in New York at the US Open in the semifinals where Osaka won a tough three setter.
The American Brady is trying to duplicate her countrywomen Sonia Kenin’s feat of winning in her first Slam final last year.
“[She] just puts a lot of pressure on you to serve well, because she’s holding serve in, like, 45 seconds,” Brady said of Osaka. “She’s coming at you with a lot of power, so it also puts a lot of pressure on you to be aggressive and try to get the first strike. Otherwise you’re the one running, and I don’t want to be running.”
Osaka hasn’t lost a match in over a year. The 23-year-old has won her last 20 matches and en route she saved two match points in a fourth round win over Garbine Muguruza.
Brady’s last two matches saw her come from a set down, beating fellow American Jessica Pegula in the quarterfinals and then Karolina Muchova in the semifinals.
Even more impressive, Brady was one of the 72 players who had to hard quarantine upon arrival in Australia. She was never allowed to leave her room for two weeks, not even to practice.
“I didn’t watch one Netflix series just because I knew if I started something then I wouldn’t want to do anything else except just lay in bed and watch Netflix,” Brady said. “Facetiming lot with other players that were in the quarantine, Sloane Stephens … with Anett and Maria. That made the time go by really quick.
“Yeah, I think it was more just trying to stay positive and know that there is worse things out there than being in a room.”
Brady will be Osaka’s fourth different opponent in a Grand Slam final, after Serena Williams, Petra Kvitova, Garbine Muguruza and Victoria Azarenka.
“I only played in three of them,” Osaka said of her final appearances. “For me, I have this mentality that people don’t remember the runners-up. You might, but the winner’s name is the one that’s engraved. I think I fight the hardest in the finals.
“I think that’s where you sort of set yourself apart.”
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