That’s a wrap for the 2021 Australian Open! Despite the challenge that the Australian swing always poses to watching from the UK (😴), it’s been a lot of fun to watch and blog. You kind of have to pause the rest of your life for two weeks to follow the Australian Open. That hasn’t been a problem this year. Other than work, there’s not much else going on so I felt committed 😂. The tennis has been a wonderful distraction from lockdown these past few weeks. The days are getting longer so i’m feeling more positive. Read on for my last post of the 2021 Australian Open 🙂.
Final result 🏆
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Caroline Garcia, Ons Jabeur, Garbiñe Muguruza, Hsieh Su-Wei, Serena Williams and Jennifer Brady. That’s one hell of a route to a Major title. Naomi Osaka beat Jen Brady, 6-4 6-3 in Saturday’s final. I think the final was arguably one of Osaka’s least convincing displays of the tournament. I felt nervous watching the first set as both players tried to settle with tension in the air. Osaka was clearly targeting the Brady backhand on return and Brady was trying to stop Osaka unloading by hitting deep down the centre.
Brady actually looked the better player towards the end of the set. The match was ultimately decided on the final two games of the first set. Osaka saved a break point at *4-4 with a forehand winner. It didn’t look a clean hit but she justtt held onto it long enough to find the line. Serving to stay in the set at *4-5, *40-15, Brady missed two game points. At deuce, Osaka landed a defensive backhand that just caught the baseline. Brady couldn’t react in time, sending her reply long. Down set point, Brady dumped a forehand into the net. It was a sad ending to a set that was gathering pace and becoming very intriguing. It was more of a subtle steeliness from Osaka compared to the smack-you-in-the-face clutchness of the previous rounds. Osaka dug out returns and stayed in the present.
There was clearly some scar tissue from that final game of the first set as Brady’s forehand began to falter. Osaka found her stride and quickly went up 4-0 in the second set. I was impressed by Brady’s staying power and spirit as she clawed one of the breaks back and kept the second set scoreline competitive as the pair shared their best rallies of the match. The result though was never in doubt as Osaka served out to claim her fourth Slam title. There’s not really much more to say about Naomi that I haven’t already said over these past two weeks. I thought she played a phenomenal tournament 👏.
Super stat 🔢
This is the fourth time in the last eight years that the Australian Open champion has saved match points en route to the title. Let’s not talk about 2014 😂 .
2016, R1: Angelique Kerber d. Misaki Doi, 6-7(4) 7-6(6) 6-3, 1 MP saved
2018, R2: Caroline Wozniacki d. Jana Fett, 3-6 6-2 7-5, 2 MPs saved
2021, R4: Naomi Osaka d. Garbiñe Muguruza, 4-6 6-4 7-5, 2 MPs saved
This year’s Australian Open is the first Slam since the 2018 Australian Open where I correctly predicted the champ 🙈 .
Funny moment 🤣
The speeches were both great. They can often be the best part of finals. Loved when Osaka paused to ask Brady (at 10:39 in the video below) whether she wanted to be called Jenny or Jennifer. Brady responded Jenny but then Osaka didn’t seem to hear and called her Jennifer anyway 😂😂😂.
Memories and takeaways 🤔
Naomi Osaka is the best player in the world and by quite some distance. One of my favourite plotlines for the rest of the year is to see whether Osaka can translate this form onto the clay and grass. I’m convinced her game is made for grass! I think she just needs matches on it.
Jen Brady is the most improved player over the past year to 18 months. An incredible effort to reach the final at this tournament having been one of the players in hard lockdown.
Karolina Muchova proved on the big stage to everyone that she is the real deal. More to come…
Serena’s movement was the best we’ve seen since she returned to the tour after the birth of the child. The field though is so much stronger than it was a few years ago.
I love Hsieh Su-Wei. Living for all the Hsieh content over the past two weeks.