Osaka chasing Grand Slam quartet perfection in Melbourne finale

The Japanese star overpowered Serena Williams to earn a fourth major final at the Australian Open, facing another American Jennifer Brady.

Naomi Osaka Australian Open 2021©Tennis Australia / Mark Peterson
 - Alex Sharp

Six rounds gone, just the final duel to lift the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup.

Two players have really stood out on the women’s side, combining their power, precision and athleticism to reach Saturday’s silverware showdown.

2019 Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka, defeating Serena Williams in straight sets in the semi-finals, will battle with Jennifer Brady. 

Let’s take a look at the vital numbers;

1 – First final

It’s a maiden major final for Brady. The 25-year-old, who prevailed past Karolina Muchova 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 on Thursday, is adamant she now belongs at this level.

Jennifer Brady Australian Open 2021©Tennis Australia / Morgan Hancock

"When I'm playing matches now, I'm never in doubt about whether I can win the match or not," the world No.24 told WTA Insider. 

"I believe It's different. I'm not stepping out there and hoping that my opponent doesn't play well or that I play great tennis. Instead, it's just me controlling my emotions, being in control of the points and my game and myself."

2 – Match points

In one of the most compelling contests of the tournament, third seed Osaka saved two match points to inch past Garbiñe Muguruza in the fourth round. Since battling back from the brink, the world No.3 has been in scintillating form.

4 – This is Osaka’s fourth Grand Slam final. 

Osaka is yet to lose a match at a major when reaching the quarter-final stage. The 23-year-old has an impeccable 11-0 record having lifted the titles at US Open 2018/2020 either side of her 2019 Melbourne Park triumph. Will it be four out of four?

“I have this mentality that people don't remember the runners up. You might, but the winner's name is the one that's engraved,” stated the world No.3. “I think I fight the hardest in the finals. I think that's where you sort of set yourself apart. It's like the biggest fight.”

5 – Five months

Five months ago Osaka and Brady went toe-to-toe in the semi-finals of the US Open.

Osaka claimed the victory 7-6(1), 3-6, 6-3, hailing it as one of her “best matches,” to now lead their head-to-head record 2-1.

For Brady it was a huge shift in perspective too.

"Having confidence from that match that I played against Naomi in the semis, I think that match may have changed my life and my outlook on how I approach showing up at Grand Slams,” said the 25-year-old. 

“I think I can definitely take some confidence from that, knowing that I was right there. 

"When I go out there, she's not going to overpower me… it's having the mentality that I'm not beneath her. I have a chance of winning."

6 – Into the final, six wins each.

Both players have put on exhibitions of elite tennis this fortnight and in rapid time.

Osaka has only spent seven hours and 43 minutes on court, Brady similarly dominant with eight hours and 28 minutes in competition. 

Osaka has even had three victories around the hour mark, ruthless and efficient, clattering a total of 155 winners thus far. 

The return game (76% in) was a priority of improvement in the off-season. However, Brady edges that by getting back 80% of deliveries into play.

The three-time Grand Slam winner has dropped just one set, Brady two. It’s going to be a clash of the highest order.

8 – Closing out in style

Osaka won the last eight points of the match to take down Williams. Talk about finding the opportune time to raise your level. 

18 or 19 ?

American women have lifted the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup 18 times in the Open era, most recently Sofia Kenin at AO 2020 last February.

Naomi Osaka Australian Open ©Tennis Australia / Mark Peterson

20 – match winning streak

Osaka has highlighted a change in outlook for fuelling an astounding 20-match winning streak, which dates back all the way to the relocated Cincinnati Open in August. 

I think the thing that I'm most proud of is now mentally strong I've become. I used to be really up and down. For me, I had a lot of doubts in myself. But I think, the quarantine process and seeing everything that's going on in the world, for me it put a lot into perspective,” declared the third seed. 

“I used to weigh my entire existence on if I won or lost a tennis match. That's just now how I feel any more.”


Brady is an Alumni of the USA college system attending UCLA Bruin. The last time a former collegian made a women’s Grand Slam final was Kathy Jordan at the Australian Open 38 years ago. 

1991 - Seles

Osaka is bidding to become the first woman since Monica Seles to win her first four major finals.