Melbourne, Australia (AP) – The latest on the Australian Open tennis tournament (all local):
Naomi Osaka won the opening set of the Australian Open final against Jennifer Brady 6: 4.
It was cooler than recently in Melbourne, with a temperature below 20 degrees Celsius and a breeze that made it difficult for either player to throw the ball instead of hitting it and saying, “Sorry! ”
Osaka took a 3-1 lead with two love mistakes from Brady with a love break. But Brady fell back in the very next game and held for 3-all.
At 4-all, Brady took advantage of a praise winner on the run, underscoring it by waving her arms to make more noise from the crowd and earn a break point. Take that and it would serve for the opening set.
But Osaka erased that with a cross-court forehand winner, and two mistakes from Brady made it 5-4. Osaka then dropped out to snag the set, aided by Brady’s double fault and a web-like forehand on a short ball to end it.
Naomi Osaka from Japan and Jennifer Brady from the USA have started playing in the Australian Open women’s final.
The third-occupied Osaka is applying for their fourth Grand Slam title on Saturday.
One of these championships took place in Melbourne Park in 2019. The other two were at the US Open in 2018 and 2020.
Brady, 22, played in a grand final for the first time at the age of 25.
She is from Pennsylvania and played college tennis at UCLA.
Naomi Osaka and Jennifer Brady are preparing for the final of the Australian Open.
The 23-year-old Osaka is looking for her fourth Grand Slam title.
25-year-old Brady makes her debut in a title fight at a major tournament.
They are due in court at Rod Laver Arena at 7:30 p.m. local time (3:30 p.m. EST). The stadium is allowed to be half full on Saturday – around 7,500 fans – after spectators were locked out during a five-day COVID-19 lockdown at the beginning of the tournament.
Osaka is number 3 and has won 20 games.
She is 3-0 in previous Grand Slam finals and won the Australian Open in 2019 and the US Open in 2018 and 2020.
2020 AP Athlete of the Year was born in Japan and moved to the United States when she was 3 years old.
The 22nd Brady lost to Osaka in the US Open semi-finals last year. She is from Pennsylvania and played college tennis at UCLA.
More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.