In a battle of American women, No. 22 Jennifer Brady defeated Jessica Pegula 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.
Brady will take on No. 25 Karolina Muchova, who upset No. 1 Ash Barty in play earlier Wednesday in Melbourne, in the semifinals. The winner of that matchup will face the winner of the highly-anticipated match between No. 3 Naomi Osaka and No. 10 Serena Williams for the Aussie Open championship.
This is the second time Brady, 25, has reached the semifinals of a major championship in singles play. She lost to Osaka in the semifinals of the 2020 U.S. Open. Osaka went on to win that championship.
“I hope I make it a habit,” Brady said after reaching another grand slam semifinal. “Hopefully I have a new habit of making finals,” she added.
The 26-year-old Pegula, daughter of Buffalo Bills and Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula, exits the tournament after reaching the quarterfinals of a major for the first time. Her previous best run at a major was a third-round appearance in the 2020 U.S. Open.
“We’re such good friends,” Brady said of Pegula. “I’m really happy for her success. I know we’ll be having a lot more tough battles.”
Jennifer Brady of the US reacts as she plays against Jessica Pegula of the US during their women's singles quarter-final match on day ten of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on February 17, 2021. (Photo by William WEST / AFP) / — IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE — (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 0 ORIG FILE ID: AFP_9374RW.jpg (Photo: WILLIAM WEST, AFP via Getty Images)
The first set was ultimately decided when Pegula broke Brady's serve with the score locked at 4-4. She then held serve in the next game up 5-4 to win the set.
Brady jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second set but Pegula fought back to cut it to 3-2. In a hard-fought sixth game, Brady managed to break Pegula's serve to go up 4-2 and then cruised in the final two games to force a third set.
The first game of the final set saw Pegula break Brady's serve following a lengthy battle, but Brady found her footing quickly. She immediately broke Pegula's serve right back and didn't drop a game the rest of the match.
Contributing: Associated Press
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