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Professional American tennis player Jennifer Brady is off to the finals at the 2021 Australian Open. It's the first time she has made it this far at a Grand Slam singles tournament - before this, she reached the semifinal match during the 2020 US Open. Brady, currently ranked No. 22 in the world on the WTA Tour, will face off against Japan's Naomi Osaka, ranked No. 3, on Saturday, Feb. 20. They last met in the 2020 US Open semifinals.
"I can't feel my legs," Brady said with a laugh after her victorious Australian Open match. She noted of her bid for the final Saturday against Osaka, "It's an incredible achievement, but I think it'll be a really tough match. Obviously she's won a few Grand Slams, we had a tough match at the US Open in the semifinals." Brady added that, to prepare, she's going to hit the gym with her team and try to think of it as any other competition. "I'm sure I'll be nervous, but I'm going to be super excited."
Brady further told POPSUGAR that it means the world to her knowing all of the hard work she's put into her training has paid off - leading up to the Australian Open, she trained four or five hours per day, six days a week. "If I walk away from Melbourne with a Grand Slam title, with a trophy, I think that just solidifies even more that I belong at this level and everything that I've done has been worth it," she said.
The 25-year-old rose to prominence in 2017 when she reached the fourth round at both the Australian Open and US Open. After that 2017 Australian Open run, Brady said her world changed. "I couldn't really believe it, to be honest with you," she recalled on the Tennis Channel podcast. "A part of me . . . I don't think I was really ready for that type of success." Lower-level events, she said, are "a grind," and once you get through to the higher ranks at Grand Slams, you realize "this is where I want to be, and this is where I want to stay."
Keep reading for some fast facts about Brady, and tune into Tennis Channel, ESPN, ESPN Deportes, or ESPN+ to see the final days of the Australian Open through Feb 21.