‘I can’t feel my legs. My heart is racing,’ says Jennifer Brady after reaching Australian Open final
American Jennifer Brady withstood late drama to defeat Karolina Muchova and reach her first Grand Slam final at the Australian Open.
Brady made her slam breakthrough with a run to the last four at the US Open last summer before losing to Naomi Osaka and has taken full advantage of a draw that opened up at Melbourne Park.
A 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory over first-time slam semi-finalist Muchova sets up a rematch on Saturday with Osaka, who saw off Serena Williams in the earlier clash.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 18, 2021
Brady looked to have things under control when she brought up two match points at 5-4 in the deciding set, and dropped to her knees on the second one thinking she had won only to realise her shot was just out.
Muchova had three break points but made errors on all of them and Brady finally clinched her fifth match point when her opponent drove a forehand long.
Brady fell to the court at the winning moment, and said: “I can’t feel my legs. My legs are shaking, my heart is racing.
“I was feeling a little strange today. I was super excited but at the same time I was pretty flat-footed. I felt like I was stuck in mud. I didn’t really pick up my intensity until the beginning of the third set.
— Heather Watson (@HeatherWatson92) February 18, 2021
“I’m obviously pretty excited to be in the finals. It’s an incredible achievement but I think it will be a really tough match, obviously she’s won a few grand slams, we had a tough match at the US Open in the semi-finals. She even said it was one of her top-two matches, which was a little unfortunate for me.”
The open nature of the women’s game is highlighted by the fact Brady is the seventh woman to make her maiden slam final in the past nine tournaments.
Five of the other six went on to win the title, including Sofia Kenin in Melbourne last year and Iga Swiatek at the French Open in October.
Brady will have to cause a big upset to do that, with Osaka one match away from matching her achievements of 2018 and 2019, when she won the US Open and Australian Open titles back to back.
But their contest in New York last year was one of the best matches of the season and Brady handled the pressure of being the favourite against 27th-ranked Czech Muchova.
The 24-year-old had the momentum going into the deciding set after Brady became error-prone in the second but Muchova played a poor service game to allow her opponent to break for 2-1 and that proved the decisive moment – just.
Barbora Krejcikova edges past Maria Sakkari to reach French Open final
Krejcikova clinched her fifth match point to seal a 7-5 4-6 9-7 victory after more than three hours.
British pair battle through to quarter-finals of Viking Open in Nottingham
Johanna Konta and Katie Boulter continued their winning ways as they prepare for Wimbledon.
Exclusive – Greg Rusedski on the future of the tennis press after Naomi Osaka’s French Open pull-out
Naomi Osaka pulled out of the French Open after refusing to speak to the media
Thoughts of Wimbledon return helped Katie Boulter recover from serious injury
The 24-year-old overcame a back problem during lockdown and has been playing at the Viking Open in Nottingham.
Joy for Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova as she books her place in French Open final
The Russian saw off Tamara Zidansek and will play in her first grand slam final.
French Open final place on the line in 58th Rafael Nadal-Novak Djokovic clash
Djokovic defeated Nadal in Paris in 2015 but was well beaten in last year’s final.
Britain’s Joe Salisbury becomes French Open champion in mixed doubles
Salisbury and Krawczyk recovered from a set down to defeat Elena Vesnina and Aslan Karatsev.
Exclusive – Annabel Croft describes Novak Djokovic’s post match reaction as ‘concerning’
Djokovic screamed loudly in a stadium lacking fans and his outburst continued for a sustained period of time.
Rafael Nadal drops first set since 2019 final but eases past Diego Schwartzman
The story of the 11th day of action at the French Open.
Wild scenes in Paris as Novak Djokovic beats Matteo Berrettini amid a spectator revolt
Novak Djokovic battled past Matteo Berrettini in a match that saw spectators ejected from Roland Garros midway through.