A return to the US Open final for Naomi Osaka is just one match away with the No.3 seed taking on Jennifer Brady in the last four. A rematch of the 2018 decider is still on the cards with Serena Williams still in the tournament on the other side of the draw.
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Jennifer Brady has been the breakout star of this tournament with her run to the semi finals being two rounds better than her career best at any slam. She cruised past Yulia Putintseva in the quarter finals, hitting 22 winners against the Kazakh. The big hitting American started quickly in this one and was never troubled, breaking five times overall in the 6-3 6-2 win. “I think I have matured. I definitely have gotten a lot fitter, I feel a lot stronger out on court, have a lot more confidence in myself and my game. I know what I’m doing out there. I believe in myself, my game, that I’m good enough to win matches and to be at this level and to be where I am today.” she said on what has changed the past few years.
Osaka remains the favourite to win the title after a comfortable win against Shelby Rogers, ensuring there would not be another shock victory pulled off by the American. After a sloppy start to the tournament, Osaka has looked very much like one of the favourites. She hit an astounding 24 winners to just 8 unforced errors in this one, making it perhaps surprising it was as close as the 6-4 6-3 scoreline. “The big thing for me was to be the aggressor and to be okay with making unforced errors,” said Osaka. “Apparently I didn’t make that many. But, yeah, just to accept the unforced errors because I know that I’m going for shots.”
Osaka is not getting complacent ahead of a match in which she is comfortably favourite for, even if she doesn’t believe it herself. “I don’t feel like the favorite, weirdly enough, I just feel like I’m going into a match with a really talented player, which is all of my previous matches anyway. For me, I remember watching her. I watched her match against Putintseva earlier today. I know she’s a big threat.” she said. Osaka won their only WTA meeting in Charleston two years ago, taking it in straight sets against the American. There is no doubt Brady is a much improved player since then with her powerful game firing on all cylinders right now. However, Osaka is in just as impressive form and you still have to trust her to be the more consistent player, especially having been at this stage of a tournament before.
Prediction – Naomi Osaka in straight sets