100% favorite

Naomi Osaka, who won all three majors finals she played, faces American rookie Brady, one of the tennis players who suffered harsh confinement.


Few times in the last four years, almost none since the days when Serena Williams dominated the circuit at pleasure, has a player faced the Grand Slam final with as much favor as she will this Saturday (09:30, Eurosport) Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open. The 23-year-old Japanese world number three has everything to lift her fourth Grand Slam title against Jennifer Brady. For starters, because he has never lost a final in majors. She is 100% successful, three out of three: US Open 2018 and 2020 and Australia 2019. In Melbourne she can become the fourth active player to reach at least four major trophies, behind Serena (23), Venus Williams ( 7) and Kim Clijsters (3). And in the 12th he achieved two in the tournament during the Open Era (since 1968). It would also happen if she beat the great Monica Seles, who did it in 1990, as the second woman to triumph in her first four Slams finals.

Osaka has not lost a match since February 7, when Sorribes surprised her with Spain in the Federation Cup. Since then he has not fallen on the track, his only losses were by abandonment in the Cincinnati final and the Gippsland Trophy semifinals for a 20-2 mark. In addition, by play, potential and experience, she is superior to a Brady, a more than worthy newcomer in these struggles, who has come so far in the tournament despite not being able to leave her room during the 14 days of mandatory quarantine. She was one of the 72 tennis players who suffered harsh confinement for having been in contact with a positive case for coronavirus on the flight that arrived in the capital of Victoria from Abu Dhabi.

If she surprises the Japanese, anything can be, she would be the tenth new champion since Serena Williams lifted the title at the Australian Open in 2017. She would succeed Ostapenko (Roland Garros 2017), Stephens (US Open 2017), Wozniacki (Australia 2018 ), Halep (RG 2018), Osaka itself (USO 2018), Barty (RG 2019), Andreescu (USO 2019), Kenin (AO 2020) and Swiatek (RG 2020). He would also enter the top-20 for the first time in his career. He has already secured 13th place and could reach 12th.

Match points

Not forgetting, however, that Osaka is where it is because it lifted two match points and broke the rest at 5-4 for Garbiñe Muguruza in the round of 16. It is also true that he did not have an easy path, with dangerous rivals such as Pavlyuchenkova, Garcia, Jabeur, Hsieh and, above all, Serena, whom he swept in the semifinals with a victory that left the American diva sunk and tearful. Brady was able to with Bolsava, Brengle, Juvan, Vekic, Pegula and Muchova, somewhat more affordable opponents. Osaka serves better and is very good from the back of the court, Brady climbs more and plays with blows. On the balance, the Asian dominates 2-0, although the American won in an ITF tournament in 2014. In the penultimate round of the last US Open, the Japanese woman clearly beat the Harrisburg university. Today she will try to make good the predictions that place her as a clear favorite.

Photos from as.com
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