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Brady Stopped by Osaka in Australian Open Final

Feb 20, 2021
Jennifer Brady (Photo: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports)

MELBOURNE, Austraila – Former UCLA women's tennis standout Jennifer Brady had her career-best Grand Slam run ended in the singles final of the Australian Open Saturday, as Naomi Osaka of Japan notched a 6-4, 6-3 victory to earn her fourth major title.

Brady, who reached the semifinals of the 2020 US Open before falling to eventual champion Osaka in three sets, became the first former college player to make the championship match of a Grand Slam since Kathy Jordan accomplished the feat at the 1983 Australian Open. Brady also improved upon her own UCLA program-best performance in a major.

Osaka and Brady alternated breaks of serve early in the first set and neither player was able to seize a decided edge until the set's final game. Leading 5-4 in the set, but trailing 15-40 in the game, Osaka fought back to set the tone.

The second set started out all Osaka, as the No. 3 seed collected the first four games. Brady did not go quietly, though, cutting her deficit in half with a break and a hold. She would collect one more hold, but was unable to pick up another break. Osaka closed out the match for her sixth straight-set win in seven matches at Melbourne Park.

With her runner-up showing, Brady is in line to achieve another career high in the WTA rankings. She has seen her ranking climb from No. 116 at the end of 2018, to No. 56 at the end of 2019, to No. 24, where it stood going into play at the Australian Open.