Jennifer Brady’s US Open run came to an end at the hands 2018 US Open finalist Naomi Osaka. In a contest of hard hitting that showcased both women’s athleticism and skill, Osaka, at key moments, raised her game and challenged Brady who was playing in her first Grand Slam semifinal.
Naomi Osaka Defeats Jennifer Brady for a Place in the US Open Final
The first set was dominated by clean serving and precise power-hitting by both women. Brady put Osaka under pressure at 3-3 carving out a rare break point opportunity for herself. Osaka stayed calm and served out the game. At the opening of the tiebreak, Osaka claimed the upper hand. In a blindingly fast rally both women showed the kind of tennis that had defined the match up to that point: aggressive and powerful with Brady the slightly better mover and Osaka the marginally craftier point constructer. Osaka won that rally and with it took an early mini break. She never looked back winning the tiebreak 7-1. The greater experience of Osaka was on full display as she remained calm under pressure. Brady who had not come close to a tiebreak throughout the tournament to that point, clearly needed time to adjust to the pressures of a tight scoreline.
The margins in the second set were as slim as the first, the only difference being that Brady was serving first. She was also the more aggressive player and created small opportunities for herself throughout. Brady managed to get to 0-30 while leading 2-1 on serve, . Osaka rallied to take the game and hold, but at 4-3, Brady finally broke for a 5-3 lead. Whatever nerves she felt during the first set tiebreak were nowhere to be found as she calmly served her way through the last game of the set.
The start of the final set showed Brady carrying on her fine form from the tail end of the second. Osaka struggled at times to stay with her in longer rallies. The quality of shot needed to win individual points was exceptionally high. To hold for 2-1, Osaka, at the end of a grueling rally, had to hit a full-powered forehand down the line. With Brady serving in the next game, Osaka managed to create two break points after a lucky net cord. Brady had previously benefitted three times from advantageous let cords. Osaka converted for a 3-1 lead and consolidated the break comfortably. Though she did not immediately go up a double break, she did create opportunities for herself straightaway on Brady’s serve, keeping her opponent under pressure. One break of serve was enough for Osaka to carry on to victory.
Naomi Osaka wore a mask during her on court interview with the name of Philando Castile who was shot in his car in 2016 during a traffic stop. Castile’s partner, Diamond Reynolds, filmed the stop and her four-year-old daughter was also in the car. Castile had been stopped 46 times by police for minor traffic violations. When asked about her efforts to raise awareness on racial justice issues, Osaka said she was happy, “just feeling like I’m reaching people.”