And that's a wrap from us. We hope you enjoyed following this nervy final with us at Sportstar. Join us again for the men's singles final between Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev tomorrow. Goodbye. Oh, before you go, our Sportstar Aces Awards are back and from Leander Paes to Sania Mirza we are honouring the Giants of the Decade gone by. You can vote for your favourite athletes here .
OSAKA BEATS BRADY 6-4, 6-3
Naomi Osaka: I want to congratulate Jennifer. We played in the semis of the US Open a couple of months ago and I told everyone that would listen that you’re gonna be a problem, and I was right. It’s really incredible to, for me it’s hard to play you and to see your growth over the past few months is really cool ... I think we’re gonna play alot more matches, so here’s to that.
“Then I’d like to thank my team ... we’ve been through quarantine together. For me, they’re like my family. They’re the ones with me through my training, through my matches, through my, you know, nervous talks before my matches, and I’m really appreciative towards them. So I really want to thank you guys. This one’s for you.”
Jennifer Brady: First I would like to congratulate Naomi on another grand slam title. She’s such an inspiration to us all and what she’s doing for the game is amazing and getting the sport out there. I hope young girls at home are watching and are inspired by what she’s doing. I would also like to congratulate her team. Obviously you guys are doing something special. Pushing Naomi every day. She’s only getting better, so congratulations.
“I would like to say thanks to my team. These two guys over there, Michael and Daniel. Without you guys, I wouldn’t be standing here tonight, so thank you very much for everything that you’ve done for me and let’s keep going for more.
Updates from the presentation ceremony
NAOMI OSAKA IS CHAMPION!
3-6 THERE IT IS! First point to Osaka after some perfect cross court placement that Brady can't get to. Three championship points later, Osaka sends a huge serve down the middle only for Brady to return it long. It's all over here at Melbourne. Subdued joy from Naomi Osaka. The crowd compensates.
3-5 COMEBACK BRADY as she pegs back to give herself a point. I have officially exhausted nails to chew.
2-5 Brady has surged to a service hold, but the ever reliable service game helps Osaka peg back into the game. Two huge serves catch Brady off guard but then comes the longest rally of the game - 16 shots - and Brady comes out on top after Osaka's forehand just about clips the top of the net. Brady pumps her fist to an ecstatic crowd and the cameras beyond the baseline. Osaka recovers but the net error repeats once more to give Brady a lifeline but this time, the American misses a forehand and that leaves Osaka needing one point to go home with the crown.
2-4 THAT WAS QUICK FROM BRADY and she knows how clinical she is being here. Service hold to love. Dominant passage of play. This should keep her going to fight back in this set. She needs to win this set to stay in this final.
1-4 Don't count her out yet, this Jen! Relief for Brady as Osaka finds the net. The crowd is delighted. Brady makes a silly face as she an outward headed shot stay inside enough to earn her the advantage in this game. The American has fought back with good movement to even things out to get to a break point. Osaka has work to do as she goes wrong with her backhand to give Brady break point #2. The American makes the former Aus Open champion toil but the the ball find the net and that's that.
We seem to have a pro-Brady crowd at the Rod Laver arena today. Quiet when she struggles. Up on their feet when she surges.
0-4 Naomi Osaka is in a rush. She wants to wrap this up as soon as she can and rightly so. The metaphoric wind is in her sails now as she takes the lead in the second set. Looking unstoppable after the shaky start in the first set. Brady is fighting. She manages two points before another set of errors. Brady's court coverage is excellent but it's costing her focus with much of her returns moving outwards. Osaka hasn't broken a sweat and that's the biggest difference between the first set and this one.
Unforced errors Brady 24, Osaka 16
Lot of self talk here at Melbourne Park! Loving the pep talks and rebukes these two are giving themselves here.
0-3 Strong from Osaka so far in this second set. How the momentum has swung after wrapping up that first set. Somdev Devvarman and Sania Mirza referred to the same thing in the pre-match broadcasting - early momentum is key. Osaka's first serves have served her well in Melbourne today. Series of errors from Brady are not helping the American's cause here and if she wants to stay in the game, she needs to peg back now!
NAOMI OSAKA TAKES THE FIRST SET 6-4
4-6 Osaka takes the first set! A nervy and engrossing first set helps Osaka get through the first set safely. A neck-to-neck battle ends with Brady finding the net and Osaka is grateful to wrap this game up faster than most of the others. Brady led the game 40-15 at one stage. A double fault helps Osaka with a set point. What a tragic miss at the net! Uncharacteristic betrayal of that forehand. The nerves are there for all to see.
4-5 Osaka pegs back to take the game and leads the first set 5-4. Osaka misses the first serve with Brady taking control and forcing an error from the world no.3. That volley to leave Osaka blinking at the net is easily the highlight of this passage of play and gives her a break point, but Osaka is not one to be left behind. She recovers with yet another big serve and two mistakes on the trot from the American gives Osaka the game. Brady serves to stay in the set. Osaka needs a game to get through the first part of the game with some relief.
4-4 The crowd loves what Brady is doing here. Brady sends one down the middle of the court frm the baseline, bringing Osaka close to the net. She returns up close and it's too easy for Brady who goes long. Osaka realises too late and the crowd is roaring!
4-4 Pressure pressure pressure for Osaka as Brady evens out the first set. The American took this game to deuce three times, holding her nerve and the serve at the end of it, courtesy an ace. Brady is actively working on fixing her inferior first serve percentages here, with delightful results.
A lovely (sort-of) aerial shot of the court helps us understand the strength that goes into Osaka's shots. Her feet are rooted to one spot but those forehands have massive power. Lovely to watch from up above. Have to say, I am envious of the crowd in attendance.
3-4 Osaka claws back, albeit looking clumsy in bits. However, when all fails, master the serve and that's what Osaka has done. Despite Brady doing well on the rallies, a superior serve helps Osaka wrap up the game. She holds the serve.
3-3 The momentum has shifted. It's hard to believe that the 40-0 advantage Osaka had over Brady was even from tis game. Brady is happy to mount the pressure on a competitor she's played against way back in college. Osaka obviously doesn't look it, but she is a little caught off guard here. Brady comes in with the better backhand for the first point and a superior forehand down the same route for the second point. Unforced errors from Osaka hand Brady the game and she holds serve. Cannot believe she has managed to tie this game! Wonderful stuff from the American, the crowd lapping it alll up.
2-3 Errors from Osaka and Brady will not sit quiet with those. She eventually misses a backhand with Brady toiling back to deuce. A double fault, this time from Osaka gives Brady a break point. Osaka hits the net and Brady is there pumping her fist. Nicely done! She's clawing her way back. So far, so close. Osaka has missed quite a few of her first serves here. Brady back on serve as a result of the errors.
1-3 That forehand! Osaka takes the first point with ease with a double fault from Brady following soon after. The rallies are fewer than one would like but we've got one in this game but Brady has unfortunately found the net. Three break points to Osaka who then wraps things up after another double fault from Brady.
1-2 What composure can do! Osaka centres herself as she makes room to give herself time to play her shots. Is the wind causing errors here? I can't be sure, but we've seen Osaka lose the first point here courtesy an unforced error. Three errors to Osaka so far in this game, but a big serve down the middle of the court gives her some momentum. The Japanese World No.3's strong forehand is a delight to watch as she forces an error out of Brady to wrap up the game.
1-1 Brady makes a determined comeback with a fiery service and a pacy return. Osaka is being made to stretch for the ball and that strategy is serving the American well. Osaka is not to be undone as she fights to save the game, but the American is fast, faster than Osaka may like. It's a nervous start from the first time Slam finalist as she makes three errors giving way to the first deuce game for the day. Osaka makes a backhand error though and Brady will take it all to draw the set 1-1.
0-1 Aces galore. A strong serve is helping Osaka draw first blood here as she takes the first game. The former Aus Open champion is the picture of serenity as she makes her way through the first game.
Osaka won the toss and has elected to serve.
“When I’m having a very hard time, I remember my match against Brady" - Osaka has spoken about how the duo's 2018 US Open clash still motivates here. Brady enters as the underdog, but don't count her out on inflicting some damage today.
2.10pm: As we wait, I googled Osaka's pre-game playlist. In an interview to People's magazine after her 2018 US Open triumph, Osaka listed Nicki Minaj and Eminem in her playlist, saying she changes artists and songs only if she loses.
2.05pm: Brady and Osaka are now seen warming up. Just a few minutes to go before action kicks off here in Melbourne Park. I wonder what Osaka's pre-game playlist is like.
2pm: The Rod Laver Arena has its roof shut today and a pre-game show ft. Australian music legend Debbie Byrne, Angie Hart of Frente fame and indigenous singer Chenile Chandler is on. The trio performed the Helen Reddy hit “I Am Woman” to get things going this afternoon. A blanket of purple light has settled on the arena now with a shining Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup at the centre of it all.
1.45pm: Sania Mirza's message to Jen Brady is to try and get on the scoreboard as soon as possible. "1-0 may not mean much to people who don't play tennis, but for those who do, it does a lot to ease the nerves."
1.15pm: Fun fact - Tennis' love for the underdogs: Four of the last six women’s singles Grand Slam champions have been first-time finalists. Advantage Brady?
OSAKA VS BRADY- ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
Japan’s Naomi Osaka and USA’s Jennifer Brady will square off in the Women’s Singles final of the 2021 Australian Open at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne on Saturday.
Heading into the final, Osaka is on a 20-match winning streak and has been to three Grand Slam finals in the past and never lost any of them.
The 23-year-old, seeded 3rd, has already lifted the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup once before, when in 2019 she beat Petra Kvitova 7–6, 5–7, 6–4 in the final to clinch her maiden Australian Open title.
READ: Australian Open: Lockdown warrior Brady faces ultimate test against Osaka
For Brady, though, this territory is as unfamiliar as it gets. The American, seeded 25th, will be competing in her first ever Grand Slam final and has never been ranked inside the top 20 in the world so far in her career.
However, she does have the experience of defeating previous Grand Slam champions, in the form of Maria Sharapova and Ash Barty, both of whom she beat at the Brisbane International last year.
Both players come into this fixture on the back of contrasting victories in their respective semifinals. The number 3 seed Osaka defeated the number 10 seed Serena Williams in straight sets 6–3, 6–4 while the number 22 Brady was made to work hard before getting the better of the 25th seed Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic 6–4, 3–6, 6–4 in her last four clash.
Osaka leads the head-to-head 2–1. Both players last met at the 2020 US Open, where Osaka defeated Brady 7–6, 3–6, 6–3 in the semi-final stage of the competition.
Road to the final
Round 1: def. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: def. Carolina Garcia (FRA) 6-2, 6-3
Round 3: def. Ons Jabeur (TUN) 6-3, 6-2
Round 4: def. Garbine Muguruza (ESP) 4-6, 6-4, 7-5
Quarter-final: def. Hsieh Su-wei (TPE) 6-2, 6-2
Semi-final: def. Serena Williams (USA) 6-3, 6-4.
Round 1: def. Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov (ESP) 6-1, 6-3
Round 2: def. Madison Brengle (USA) 6-1, 6-2
Round 3: def. Kaja Juvan (SLO) 6-1, 6-3
Round 4: def. Donna Vekic (CRO) 6-1, 7-5
Quarter-Final: def. Jessica Pegula (USA) 4-6, 6-2, 6-1
Semi-Final: def. Karolina Muchova (CZE) 6–4, 3–6, 6–4
What time will the final start on the 20th
The women's single final will begin at 2:00 pm IST
Where will the final take place
The final will happen at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.
Where to watch in India
The final will be telecast on Sony Sports Network. The match will also be live streamed on the Sony LIV and the Sony LIV website.