After almost two weeks of jaw-dropping matchups, we have our two finalists on the women’s side with a chance to lift the 2021 Australian Open title. The No.2 seed Naomi Osaka will face Jennifer Brady in a blockbuster final at Melbourne Park.
It will be an advantage for Osaka since she has the experience of playing in three Grand Slam finals and triumphing each time. Having won the Australian Open title in 2019, it will act as a boost for the Japanese to replicate the feat for the second time in her career.
At the other end, the No.22 seed Brady will compete in her first-ever Grand Slam final. Interestingly, Brady’s previous best Grand Slam result was reaching the semifinals of the 2020 US Open, a match that she lost to eventual champion Naomi Osaka.
With the stakes high as ever, let us analyze the way Brady can defeat the former World No.1 Osaka.
Fire up is the first serve
Over the last two matches, Brady has got just 50% of her first serves inside the box, which casts a shadow of concern. With Osaka being a powerful returner, Brady needs to increase her first serve percentage to shorten the points, win some free points and keep her opponent at the back of the court.
Having committed a whopping 38 unforced errors during her semifinal match, Brady will have to keep a check on that since it played a major factor in Serena Williams‘ loss to Osaka. The Japanese will not hesitate to take advantage of her opponent’s mistakes.
Barring her semifinal match, Osaka has served extremely well and has hit an impressive 44 aces in the tournament so far. For Brady to take control of the final, she will have to return hard and deep into the court to reduce Osaka’s reaction time.
One vulnerable side of Osaka has been her second serve points winning percentage, hence Brady should take it into consideration and step up to the baseline to attack Osaka’s second service to create chances of breaking her.
The American possesses powerful groundstrokes to match Osaka from the back of the court and should aim to dictate the points with her forehand. To keep Osaka on the defensive, Brady will have to play closer to the baseline and mix it up by using her net play effectively. She simply cannot afford to give Osaka control o the baseline and rallies if she is to have a chance.
With nerves bound to kick in, Brady will have to keep herself composed to increase her chances of lifting her maiden Grand Slam trophy.