MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA) – Jennifer Brady fought through her frustrations to overhaul friend and United States team mate Jessica Pegula 4-6 6-2 6-1 and reach her first Australian Open semi-final on Wednesday.
The 22nd seed has a golden chance to reach her first Grand Slam final after world number one Ash Barty crushed by Karolina Muchova in the early quarter-final on Wednesday.
With Serena Williams to face Naomi Osaka in the other semi-final, the Australian Open could have another all-American title match on Saturday, four years after Serena beat her sister Venus for the 2017 championship.
“I hope I make it a habit,” the 25-year-old said on court after the win. “Hopefully I have a new habit of making finals.”
Brady was one of the 72 players in hard quarantine before the tournament, unable to train on courts for five hours a day like the rest of the field.
“I’ve been putting in the hard yards in the gym with my trainer Daniel,” she said. “We’re getting better every single day, every day is another opportunity.” Pegula, the daughter of billionaire sports team owners, bowed out after reaching her first Grand Slam quarter-final.
Brady said she was “delighted” that fans would be allowed back at Rod Laver Arena from Thursday after Victoria’s five-day lockdown ended. “It’ll be great to play in front of people, especially the semi-finals,” said Brady. “In New York it was an empty stadium, so here it will be a new atmosphere. “I’m really looking forward to it.”