Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Brady breezes into first Grand Slam semifinal

   Since American Jennifer Brady began working with Michael Geserer of Germany last October, her career has reached new heights.
   The 28th-seeded Brady rolled to a 6-3, 6-2 victory over 23rd-seeded Yulia Putintseva, a Moscow native who plays for Kazakhstan, in 69 minutes today to reach the U.S. Open semifinals in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. 
   Brady was playing in her first Grand Slam quarterfinal and Putintseva her third in a matchup of 25-year-olds. The 5-foot-4 (1.63-meter) Putintseva also advanced to the last eight in the 2016 and 2018 French Open. 
   Brady had never won a set in two previous matches against Putintseva, both in 2018 and one on clay in the French Open.
   Since the WTA tour resumed last month, the 5-foot-10 (1.78-meter) Brady has used her powerful serve and forehand to win 11 of 12 matches, never surrendering more than four games in a set in the victories. Her closest victory during the hot streak was a 6-3, 6-4 decision over Jil Teichmann, a Swiss left-hander, in the Lexington, Ky., final. That gave Brady her first WTA title.
   The highest-ranked player Brady has beaten in the 11 victories was No. 23 Angelique Kerber in the fourth round of the U.S. Open. Brady recorded her first two top-10 wins this year before the women's and men's tours shut down in March. As a qualifier, she knocked off top-ranked Ashleigh Barty to reach the quarterfinals in Brisbane in January and No. 6 Elina Svitolina en route to the Dubai semifinals in February. 
   Geserer formerly coached Julia Goerges, a German who reached the Wimbledon semifinals in 2018 to climb to a career-high No. 9.
   "I told myself I want to try something new, do something different, commit to it, and I did, and I'm really happy I did," Brady told WTA Insider in January.
   Ranked No. 55 at the end of 2019, Brady will soar at least 16 places to a career-high No. 25 on Monday. 
   Geserer told WTA Insider in April that he tries "to have a positive look and a positive approach on every day and in every situation. I believe that with smart and good work you will reach your goals."
   Brady, a former UCLA All-American, starred in Northern California Challengers. She won the singles and doubles titles in Redding ($25,000) in 2014 at age 19 and reached the quarterfinals as the top seed in Sacramento ($60,000) in 2017, losing to defending champion Sofia Kenin.
   Also in 2017, Brady advanced to the fourth round of the Australian Open at age 21 and U.S. Open at 22. She became the first American female qualifier to advance to the last 16 in Melbourne in the Open Era.
   Brady will face Naomi Osaka, seeded fourth and ranked ninth. Osaka, who won the first of her two Grand Slam titles in the 2018 U.S. Open at age 20, dismissed unseeded American Shelby Rogers 6-3, 6-4.
   Osaka and Brady have split two career matches, most recently in 2018. 
   In the men's draw, fifth-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany beat 27th-seeded Borna Coric of Croatia 1-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (1), 6-3 to reach his second consecutive Grand Slam semifinal.
   The 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Zverev rallied from a 2-4 deficit in the second set to improve to 2-3 against Coric and become the first German to reach the U.S. Open semifinals since Boris Becker in 1995.
   "I started playing more aggressively," Zverev, who had 18 aces and 12 double faults, said in an on-court interview. "I wasn't playing aggressively enough in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament.
   "I was more consistent (after that), and my serve got better. I had nothing to lose at that moment."
   Zverev, the 23-year-old son of former Russian pro Alexander Zverev Sr., is set to meet 20th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta, a 29-year-old Spaniard, on Friday.
   Carreno Busta outlasted 12th-seeded Denis Shapovalov of Canada 3-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4), 0-6, 6-3 to reach the U.S. Open semifinals for the second time. Carreno Busta scored the only break of the fifth set on a double fault to lead 4-2. The 4-hour, 8-minute match ended at 1:07 a.m. EDT Wednesday.
   Carreno Busta advanced to the quarters when top-ranked Novak Djokovic was defaulted Sunday for accidentally hitting a line judge in the throat with a ball.
   Zverev defeated Carreno Busta, who also reached the U.S. Open semis three years ago, 7-6 (4), 6-2 in the 2018 Miami semis in their only previous meeting.
   In the men's doubles semifinals, eighth-seeded Wesley Koolhof of the Netherlands and Nikola Mektic of Croatia eliminated third-seeded Rajeev Ram of Carmel, Ind., and Joe Salisbury of Great Britain 7-6 (3), 6-4.
   Ram, a volunteer assistant coach at the University of California, Berkeley, and Salisbury, who won the doubles title in the 2017 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger with compatriot Brydan Klein, were seeking their second consecutive Grand Slam title.
   Koolhof and Mektic will play unseeded Mate Pavic of Croatia and Bruno Soares of Brazil for the title on Thursday. Pavic and Soares topped unseeded Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands and Horia Tecau of Romania, the 2017 U.S. Open champions, 6-4, 7-5.

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