Brady wins all-American clash to reach semi-finals

40
Brady wins all-American clash to reach semi-finals

America’s Jennifer Brady is into the semi-finals of the Australian Open for the first time in her career with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 win over unseeded compatriot Jessica Pegula on Rod Laver Arena.

Brady will face Karolina Muchova, who stunned world number one Ash Barty earlier in the day in three sets, in the semis.

With Serena Williams to face Naomi Osaka in the other semi-final, the Australian Open could have another all-American title match on Saturday, four years after Serena beat her sister Venus for the 2017 championship.

Pegula started the contest against her good friend brightly and took the opening set shortly after Brady double faulted at 4-4 to put the 26-year-old a break up.

But Brady, who reached the US Open semi-finals in 2020, came storming back as she began to overpower her opponent in a predominant baseline battle.

The 25-year-old raced into a 3-0 lead before clinching another break at 4-2 up with a confident smash at the net. The number 22 seed took the contest to a decider with her eleventh point in a row.

In the final set Brady immediately fought back from a break down in the opening game before motoring her way to the semis with six games in a row.

“I hope I make it a habit [reaching a Grand Slam semi-final],” she said post-match. “Hopefully I make it a new habit by making finals.

“We’re such good friends. I’m really happy for her success and I know that we’ll be having a lot more tough battles and some may go her way, some may go mine. Luckily today it went my way and I’m really happy to move into the semi-finals here.

“In the beginning of the match I felt pressure from her. She’s such an aggressive player and you’re running side-to-side. I felt I was doing a little too much of that and I told myself ‘maybe I need to change something’.

“The court was bouncing a lot more, which I think favoured me a lot more than her. But I was looking to push her back, get more of an offence of my own and I think I played a really good third set.”