Jennifer Brady Says She Once Hated Tennis After Australian Open Breakthrough - UBITENNIS
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Jennifer Brady Says She Once Hated Tennis After Australian Open Breakthrough

The American tennis star details what ‘made her realize’ that she wanted to become a professional player following college.

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This year’s Australian Open has confirmed to America’s Jennifer Brady that she belongs at the top of the game as she enjoys her best ever run at the tournament.

 

The world No.24 is through to the semifinals in Melbourne Park after fighting back from a set down to defeat compatriot Jessica Pegula 4-6, 6-2, 6-1. To put that achievement in perspective Brady had lost in the first round of the tournament in two out of her three previous appearances at the event. In her latest win, she impressively won 82% of her first service points and produced a total of 22 winners.

Brady’s breakthrough in Australia follows-up on her run at the US Open last year where she also reached the semi-final stage. It was during 2020 when she broke into the world’s top 50 for the first time and won her maiden WTA title in Lexington.

“I think they’re separate entities,” Brady replied when comparing her runs at the Australian Open to that of the US Open.
“It definitely helps, just helps my overall confidence. Knowing that I belong at this level, I can compete in the second week of Grand Slams consistently, and I hope to continue to do that consistently.’
“It will obviously benefit me moving forward.”

At a younger age Brady would never imagine she would have such success in a sport which she admits to having a love-hate relationship with. Speaking franking with reporters on Wednesday, the American says for her it was a case of ‘growing to love’ the sport instead of love at first sight.

“When I was younger, I used to hate watching tennis, I didn’t really enjoy playing either, to be honest,” she said. “I would say as the years go by, I enjoy it more and more.”

So what changed? Unlike her peers, Brady didn’t go straight into professional tennis and instead opted to go through the college system first where she enjoyed a high amount of success. During her freshman year at UCLA she help her team win the 2014 Division 1 Women’s Tennis National Championship.

It was at college where Brady came to a revelation that sport and not education was what she wanted to do. She didn’t play in a main draw of a Grand Slam until the age of 21.

“I didn’t like to study. I didn’t like school. I found that out real quick when I went to college,” Brady reflected. “I was like, okay, studying isn’t really for me. I’m not made for a desk job. I enjoy playing tennis. So it took me to get away a little bit from the sport to realize that this is what I want to do.”

Now a full-time player, she is just two wins away from her first Grand Slam title. Standing in her way of the final is Czech Republic’s Karolina Muchova who has knocked Ash Barty out of the tournament. The winner will then take on either Naomi Osaka or Serena Williams for the trophy.

“I think it’s a huge achievement for me to make these semi-finals here. I look to make the finals, so we’ll see,” she concluded.

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Brandon Nakashima continues his winning streak in Tokyo

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Brandon Nakashima continued his winning streak with a 6-3 6-2 win against Shintaro Mochizuki at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo.

 

“ I am still learning a lot about it, but it’s very exciting. It’s beautiful so far. My father’s side of the family is Japanese. That’s where I get my last name from. Any time I get to learn more about my background I am super excited, so I am happy to be here. The atmosphere is really amazing. I feel right at home”, said Nakashima. 

Nakashima won nine of the final eleven games from 3-3 in the first set. The US Next Gen player did not face a break point and won 84% of his first serve points. He is aiming to qualify for the Next Gen Finals for the second consecutive year. 

“I am serving well. It affects all the other parts of my game. I am happy that I served wel. It was definintely one of my goals at the beginning of the year, to win my first ATP title. To do in my home town was very special”, said Nakashima. 

Nakashima will take on eithTer Borna Coric or Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round. 

Frances Tiafoe beat Japanese wild card Yasutaka Uchiyama 6-3 6-4. The US 24-year-old player saved both break points and fired eight aces to win seven of his nine past matches. 

Tiafoe, who reached the semifinals at the US Open last September, will face Bernabe Zapata Miralles, who beat Taro Daniel 7-5 7-5. 

Pedro Martinez saw off Pedro Martinez 7-5 6-4 to stop a eight-match losing streak. The Spaniard will face either Casper Ruud or Jaume Munar. 

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Elena Rybakina comes back from one set down to beat Madison Keys in Ostrava

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Wimbledon champions Elena Rybnkina and Petra Kvitova advanced to the Round of 16 at at the Agel Open in Ostrava after three-set battles. 

 

Rybakina came back from one set down to beat Madison Keys 5-7 6-3 6-3 in 2 hours and 14 minutes. The 2022 Wimbledon champion ended a two-match losing streak. 

Keys, who beat Rybakina in their previous head-to-head matches at Roland Garros and Cincinnati earlier this year, went up a set and a break to build up a 7-5 1-0 lead. 

Rybakina earned her first break in the second game of the second set. The Kazakh player broke Keys in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead and held on her next service games to win the second set 6-3. Rybakina took a 3-2 lead with her second break of the third set. Keys saved three match points at 5-3. Rybakina sealed the win on her fourth match point with a forehand winner. 

Petra Kvitova overcame US qualifier Bernarda Pera 6-3 2-6 6-4 in just over two hours. Kvitova hit 35 winners to 21 unforced errors. 

Kvitova raced out to a 5-0 lead with two breaks of serve in the second and fourth games. Pera pulled one break back in the seventh game to reduce her deficit to 3-5. Kvitova saved a break point to hold serve in the ninth game for 6-3. 

Pera earned an early break to take a 2-0 at the start of the second set. Five of the first seven games went against serve. Kritova went up a break at 4-3. Pera fired her first ace to hold serve for 5-4. Kvitova earned two match  points with her 10th ace. She fired her 11th ace to close out the match. 

Kvitova set up a second round match against Paula Badosa. Kvitova and Badosa have drawn level to 1-1 in their two head-to-head matches.  

Ekaterina Alexandrova overcame Victoria Azarenka 6-4 4-6 6-3 after 2 hours and 18 minutes to reach the second round. 

Alexandrova has extended her winning streak to six consecutive matches, that includes her recent title in Seoul. 

Alexandrova was ranked outside the top 50 for the first time since 2019, but she came back by reaching two semifinals in Charleston and Madrid. In the past four months she clinched two WTA titles in S’Hertogenbosch and Seoul. She has recorded 29 wins to 10 defeats since April. 

Alexandrova will face either number 5 seed Daria Kasatkina or 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu. 

Azarenka earned the first break in the second game to take a 3-0 lead. Alexandrova broke back in the fifth game for 2-3, but Azarenka broke for the second time after a four-deuce battle to take a 4-2 lead, when Alexandrova sent a backhand wide on the seventh break point.

Alexandrova came back by winning four consecutive games to clinch the first set 6-4. 

A Hawkeye overrule denied Alexandrova a break point at 3-3. Alexandrova held serve before breaking twice in the eighth and tenth games to win the second set 6-4. 

Aleksandrova broke in the third game of the decider after a six- deuce battle with a pass on the third break point. The Russian player sealed the win with a service winner with her second match point. 

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Roberto Bautista Agut beats Felix Auger Aliassime to reach the second round at the Astana Open

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Roberto Bautista Agut upset eight-seed Felix Auger Aliassime 6-4 7-6 (8-6) after 1 hour and 55 minutes to reach the second round at the Astana Open in Nur Sultan. 

 

Bautista Agut earned his first break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and held his next service games to seal the first set 6-4. 

Auger Aliassime went up a break in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Bautista Agut pulled one break back in the fifth game and held on his serve to draw lo draw level to 3-3. Bautista Agut went up a mini-break twice in the tie-break, but Auger Aliassime pulled back on serve both times to draw level to 4-4. Bautista Agut sealed the win on his second match point. 

“It is my first time here. I played great in these conditions. I am very happy to win against a top 10 player. It’s not easy to beat Felix, especially on hard courts. That means I had to playa very good match. I was very solid and and very aggressive. I am very happy”, said Bautista Agut. 

Hubert Hurkacz edged past Francisco Cerundolo 6-2 7-6 (7-2) after 82 minutes in the first round of the Astana Open. 

Hurkacz broke twice in the third and seventh games to win the first set 6-2. The Polish player fired 11 aces and saved the one break point he faced in the second set. Both players went on serve en route to the tie-break. Hurkacz earned three mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-2. 

The 2021 Miami Open champion set up a second round match against either Alexander Bublik or Tallon Griekspoor.

Hurkacz is currenly ranked ninth in the ATP Race to Turin, just 20 points behind Alexander Zverev, who has been sidelined by an injury. 

Andrey Rublev advanced to the second round with a 6-4 6-3 win over Laslo Djere in 71 minutes. Rublev saved all three break points and broke in the 10th game of the first set and in the 2nd game in the second set. 

Rublev set up a second round match against Chinese qualifier Zhizhen Zhang, who came back from one set down to beat Aslan Karatsev 4-6 6-4 6-1. 

Adrian Mannarino rallied from one set down to beat Stan Wawrinka 1-6 6-2 6-3 to extend his lead to 2-0 in his two head-to-head matches against his Swiss rival. Botic van de Zandschulp eased past Beibit Zhukzhiev 6-1 6-1. 

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