Jennifer Brady* 1-2 Naomi Osaka (* denotes next server)
Jennifer Brady does well to fire a return back to Naomi Osaka’s forehand, and the Japanese World No 3 cannot get her shot over the net. 0-15. Brady then loses back to back points, 30-15. A huge serve from Osaka down the middle of the court, and Brady’s return flies long, before Osaka rushes to the net on the next point and forces Brady into a mistake to wrap up the hold.
Jennifer Brady 1-1 Naomi Osaka* (* denotes next server)
It’s Jennifer Brady’s turn to display the power in her serve, and she puts some real juice into it to race into a 40-0 lead. She then commits a double fault, before two errors mean that it’s deuce. Brady has struggled a little with accuracy over the course of the tournament, and while it didn’t cost her the game against Karolina Muchova, Naomi Osaka is unlikely to leave these errors unpunished. Brady manages to grind out the hold however, that’ll give her a bit of confidence.
Jennifer Brady* 0-1 Naomi Osaka (* denotes next server)
Naomi Osaka will get us off with the serve, after winning the toss, and straightaway, she shows off one of her biggest weapons by holding serve to love. Jennifer Brady couldn’t even get near three of those serves.
The players are out onto the court and we’re just about ready to begin!
Here’s how the pair’s past encounters have played out!
Naomi Osaka’s path to the final!
Jennifer Brady’s path to the final!
Naomi Osaka just about edges Jennifer Brady on their head to head record
Hello and welcome to Firstpost.com’s coverage of the Australian Open women’s final!
Jennifer Brady will take on Naomi Osaka in a bid to win her first-ever Grand Slam title, but in order to do so, she’ll have to break her Japanese opponent’s perfect record in Grand Slam finals. Stay tuned as we bring you all the latest updates and the live score from what’s bound to be a thrilling encounter!
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.