As the strong favorite to win her fourth Grand Slam title, Naomi Osaka enters the Rod Laver Arena later today. Mats Wilander, the three-time Australian Open champion, suggests that Jennifer Brady has the kind of game that could upset Naomi Osaka in the final today. As the overwhelming favorite to win her fourth Grand Slam, after beating Serena Williams in the Rod Laver Arena, Osaka heads into the showpiece of the Rod Laver Arena.
Meanwhile, Brady is in her first slam final after defeating Karolina Muchova in her final four sets in three sets.
On three previous occasions, the two have played, with Osaka winning the last two, including the US Open semi-final last year.
But former world No.1 Wilander believes that Brady might be the person if anyone could beat Osaka.
“No, Osaka won’t underestimate Brady,” Wilander said in the Eurosport Cube.
“But if there is someone who can beat her, Jennifer Brady has a bit of a different game. She’s got that big forehand with a lot of top spin that could push Osaka back.
“She also has a very good serve, Brady. She’s got a good kick on the second serve, so I think she has to move Osaka off the ball with spins.
“The only weakness I see in Brady is when they are going toe-to-toe with the backhand cross-courts. Osaka is so good in that pattern.
“Osaka is clearly the favourite, but in terms of the level of tennis, this will be high, high quality.”
Similarly, Osaka was encouraged by former British No.1 Tim Henman not to underestimate Brady, who has only won one career title.
“I think the final between Osaka and Brady is a great match-up, Henman explained to Eurosport.
“Obviously you’ve got a former Grand Slam champions [Osaka], playing someone in there first final [Brady].
“It’s always going to be interesting to see how the two players deal with that. I think Osaka is definitely the favourite, but Brady has played some big matches this fortnight and she’s played some big matches in the past. She definitely shouldn’t be underestimated.”
While Henman does not rule out Brady’s unlikely win, he does assume that his adversary is the best player in the world at the moment.
With only Ashleigh Barty and Simona Halep, Osaka came into the fortnight in Melbourne as the third ranked player in the women’s game, but Henman believes that a false position is.
“Regardless of Osaka’s ranking, right now she is the world’s best player,” he said. And this is another perfect chance to get another championship under her belt at the Grand Slam.
How far will she go, though? Oh, who knows? If she doesn’t get to double figures in Grand Slam titles, I’d be surprised.