2021 Australian Open, Day 13 Highlights: Phenomenal Osaka wins fourth Slam title

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 πŸ˜‚. The tennis has been aΒ 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 πŸ™‚.Β 

Final result πŸ†

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Caroline Garcia, Ons Jabeur, GarbiΓ±e 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 πŸ‘.

Super stat πŸ”’

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 πŸ˜‚ .

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. GarbiΓ±e 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 πŸ™ˆ .

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 πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚.

Memories and takeawaysΒ πŸ€”

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.

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7 thoughts on “2021 Australian Open, Day 13 Highlights: Phenomenal Osaka wins fourth Slam title

  1. Great win for Naomi and very well deserved. Interesting to see whether she can continue this form and dominate. She has the game to but can she stay this focused? She’s now won 4 of the last 6 hard court Slams. Would love to see her have a good run in Paris or London.

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  2. Excellent win as always for Naomi. We’ll see how she approaches the rest of the season. Quick mention for Daria Kasatkina as well. That Philip Island Trophy seemed very special to her. It would be great if this brings her back into the top 10 fold on a regular basis.

    Re-watched some of the matches before the final and it set me thinking about shoulda, woulda and coulda’s. Had Ash Barty had a crowd at her match with Muchova, would it have helped her fight back after Muchova’s lengthy med time out? Likewise, could Garbine have closed Osaka out with the crowd present in her match? Does Sabalenka’s play seem ‘angsty’ sometimes? If she could be a little patient at some crucial points before unleashing?

    Anyway, Jen Brady is playing great, and her mentality is solid, the opportunities should come if she keeps it up. I have to admit, for a while, I did get caught up in the thinking that this could be Serena’s last run at the Aussie Open after she stopped to take in the crowd at the end of the Osaka match and her presser, but I’ll leave it at that.
    I really couldn’t place Karolina Pliskova this tournament and where her game is going with Sascha, might need a tournament or two.

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    • I completely agree with you re the crowds! I do feel like a home crowd might just have spurred Barty on.

      I’m not convinced on Kasatkina though. It just feels like *such* hard work for her. The serve just really isn’t good enough to be at the top of the game consistently. And she’s so hesitant to come forward or flatten out the forehand and finish shots early. It’s a shame because I remember thinking she was going to be the next big thing…

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      • So true with Kasatkina. She started coming up so well. I really used to admire her fight so much. The loss of confidence did hurt her game. At 23 years, I think she can try and find the solutions, but it has to happen soon, the competition is growing.

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      • I’m so pleased to see Kasatkina at least on the up. I’d tend to agree with Andrew. I’m just not sure how she beats the power players on a consistent basis. Rooting for Dasha though.

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    • Interesting questions posed, letsplay. I couldn’t help think the same with Serena. In the end I settled on that this may be the last time they play in front of fans for a long time.

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