Naomi Osaka defeats Jennifer Brady to win second Australian Open title

Naomi Osaka has won her second Australian Open championship in three years following a straight-sets victory over Jennifer Brady in the women’s final at Melbourne Park.

The third-seeded Osaka, who first lifted the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup in 2019, triumphed 6-4, 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena.

It is the Japanese star’s second-straight major title, following her US Open win last September, and the fourth in her young career.

Brady, the tournament’s 22nd seed, was making her debut in the final of a major.

The American was the only player in the women’s draw who went through hard quarantine to reach the second week at Melbourne Park.

Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates winning a point.Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates winning a point.
Osaka did not drop a set in her victory over Brady.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

Osaka said she would not have been able to reach the final if was not for the work of her support team.

“For me they’re like my family,” she said during the post-match presentation.

“They’re the ones with me through my training, through my matches, through my nervous talks before my matches and I’m really appreciative towards them, so I really want to thank you guys.

Brady took pride in her performance but after the match, she preferred to heap praise on Osaka.

“She’s such an inspiration to us all and what she’s doing for the game is amazing and getting the sport out there,” Brady said.

“I hope young girls at home are watching and are inspired by what she’s doing.”

Osaka on top early

Osaka fired down two aces and produced an unplayable serve en route to claiming the opening game.

Brady, on the other hand, did not have it all her own way in her first service game, twice been taken to deuce before she eventually held.

She went down a break to trail 1-3 when she dropped serve, two double faults putting a dint in her confidence.

The first set, however, changed course in the following game.

Osaka, who had appeared so assured when serving, gave up a break point with her first double fault of the match, before a backhand return into the net saw her drop serve.

Jennifer brady plays a forehand return against Naomi Osaka.Jennifer brady plays a forehand return against Naomi Osaka.
Brady showed spirit in what was her first appearance in the final of a major.(AP: Andy Brownbill)

As the set progressed, Brady had the chance to edge in front when she earned a break point in the ninth game via a desperate backhand lob that left Osaka — stuck at the net — beaten all ends up.

But Osaka kept her cool to win the next three points and clinch her service game to move ahead 5-4.

It was an opportunity that Brady was left to rue.

In the following game — when serving to stay in the set — she was up 40-15, before producing errors on both the forehand and backhand wings and conceding a double fault to drop serve and hand over the first set to Osaka.

Naomi Osaka serves to Jennifer Brady in the Australian Open final in Melbourne.Naomi Osaka serves to Jennifer Brady in the Australian Open final in Melbourne.
Osaka had led 4-0 in the second set before withholding a fightback from Brady.(AP: Andy Brownbill)

Brady was on the back foot early in the second set, with Osaka securing a double break on her way to a 4-0 lead.

Osaka was only two games away from capturing the championship at this stage, but Brady showed impressive fight to break her opponent’s serve to get on the board in the second set.

Brady served out the sixth game to love to trail 2-4, however Osaka did not falter and she won her next two service games to complete her win in one hour and 17 minutes.

Look back at how the action unfolded in our blog.

Live updates

2hours agoSaturday 20 February 2021 at 10:40am

By Andrew Mcgarry

What a win for Osaka 

Naomi Osaka holds the Daphne Akherst Memorial Cup once again (AP)

What a night for Naomi Osaka!

She is 23 years old and a four-time grand slam singles winner already. Clearly she is the new dominant force in women’s tennis, and her rivals are going to find it very hard to get the better of her in the near future.

The expectation was on her as the hot favourite, and she proved the predictions were spot on. Not sure how she will go on clay at the French Open, but 2021 could be a VERY big year for her on what she has shown in the last few months.

Thanks for joining us on our live coverage of the women’s singles final.

We will be back tomorrow night for the men’s final, with Novak Djokovic taking on Daniil Medvedev. I’m Andrew McGarry, and I look forward to bringing you all the action again. Good night. 

2hours agoSaturday 20 February 2021 at 10:32am

By Andrew Mcgarry

You have to hand it to both competitors tonight – for Jennifer Brady to overcome the challenge of having to hit balls, do exercises and figure eights in her hotel room for two weeks and still manage to play some of the best tennis of the tournament and get to the final.

And for Naomi Osaka, what a fortnight! She beat two champions in Garbiñe Muguruza and Serena Williams.

She saved two match points against Muguruza, she was down a break early against Williams and went on to win the title.

She is an impressive athlete, mentally and physically. Who knows how far she can go from here?

2hours agoSaturday 20 February 2021 at 10:27am

By Andrew Mcgarry

Celebration time for Naomi Osaka (AP)
2hours agoSaturday 20 February 2021 at 10:24am

By Andrew Mcgarry

She thanks everyone at the tournament… and the fans:

Thank you for coming and watching. It feels really incredible for me,  I didn’t play my last Grand Slam with fans, so just to have this energy, it really means a lot. 

Thank you for opening your hearts and your arms towards us. For sure I feel like playing a Grand Slam right now is a super privilege and it’s something I won’t take for granted, so thank you for this opportunity.

Hopefully we’ll be back next year.

2hours agoSaturday 20 February 2021 at 10:20am

By Andrew Mcgarry

And now for the champion!

She asks Brady if she wants to be known as Jennifer or jenny – it’s Jennifer, by the way.

Firstly, I want to congratulate Jennifer.

We played in the semis of the US Open a couple of months ago and I told everyone that would listen that you’re gonna be a problem and I was right!

 It’s really incredible to see – for me it’s hard to play and see your growth over the past few months is really cool for me to see.

I think we’re gonna play a lot more matches, so here’s to that.

I’d like to thank my team.  I’ve been with them too long, a month and change and we’ve been through quarantine together. For me they’re like my family.

They’re the ones with me through my training, through my matches, through my, you know, nervous talks before my matches, and I’m really appreciative towards them, so I really want to thank you guys. This one’s for you.

2hours agoSaturday 20 February 2021 at 10:20am

By Andrew Mcgarry

She has an amazing story, as a player who made it through full quarantine and all the way to the final.

Thanks to Craig Tiley and his team, Tennis Australia.

I was in the quarantine and they did everything possible for me to make it as comfortable as possible.

I was able to do everything I could in the room and I appreciate everything that they did for me while I was there, so thank you.

I know mum you’re watching right now in front of the TV probably crying, so…

It was special to play in front of fans in my first Grand Slam final, so hopefully standing on this stage next time with this girl over here, but tonight it wasn’t meant to be. Hopefully there’s many more. Thank you.

2hours agoSaturday 20 February 2021 at 10:18am

By Andrew Mcgarry

Now it’s time for Jennifer Brady. She gives a small smile and waves to the crowd.

First I would like to congratulating Naomi on another Grand Slam title.

She’s such an inspiration to us all and what she’s doing for the game is amazing and getting the sport out there. I hope young girls at home are watching and are inspired by what she’s doing.

She thanks her team and says “let’s keep going for more”.

2hours agoSaturday 20 February 2021 at 10:16am

By Andrew Mcgarry

Hrdlicka makes reference of the challenges faced in getting the tournament going:

This has not been the easiest Australian Open to stage.

It is countless hours, months and months with many people getting next to no sleep with the drive to do one thing and that is to bring a bit of hope to the world. 

We are on our way back to normal and live sport and fans in the stands should be the way of the future. So well done. 

There are a lot of people to thank in this process at the top of that list is the Victorian government.

We worked hard together to ensure we could stage an Australian Open that kept the players safe, most importantly the players safe, most importantly the community safe, and enabled us to begin our journey to a new post- COVID normal.

She gives special thanks to the tournament workers, then the players:

It goes without saying that they work very hard to be professional tennis players, they work very hard in every event, but this event was particularly challenging given all of the requirements in order to keep the community safe.

Everybody stood up and entered that and we were so proud of the way everybody worked together through constantly changing stands to make that possible. So thanks to the players as well.

2hours agoSaturday 20 February 2021 at 10:12am

By Andrew Mcgarry

Tennis Australia’s Jayne Hrdlicka is first up, thanking the participants:

Jennifer, your determination and grit tonight and for the last two weeks is super-impressive.

It wasn’t your night, but you will be back here and you will be taking the trophy home with you the next time you do. 

She also has praise for our winner.

Naomi, if anybody had any doubt, you’re a fighter at the core. Your tenacious spirit was on display in full force tonight.

It’s not just on court, but it’s off court as well.

In the last 12 months, you have stepped into your voice and you’ve made a huge difference in everything you focussed on and it is truly inspiring and an opportunity for all of us to step back and look at the ways we can make a difference in the community.

2hours agoSaturday 20 February 2021 at 10:09am

By Andrew Mcgarry

We’re getting ready for the presentations here – they are replaying the moment when Osaka tried to get here coach in the stands to take a video to mark her big moment.

2hours agoSaturday 20 February 2021 at 10:06am

By Andrew Mcgarry

Jennifer Brady’s first grand slam final was a tough experience, but she had a tough task ahead of her. Hopefully she’ll be back in this position soon.

2hours agoSaturday 20 February 2021 at 10:05am

By Andrew Mcgarry

Naomi Osaka becomes the first woman since Monica Seles to win her first four grand slam singles finals. Hats off to her, what a performance.

2hours agoSaturday 20 February 2021 at 10:04am

By Andrew Mcgarry

2hours agoSaturday 20 February 2021 at 10:03am

By Andrew Mcgarry

Naomi Osaka wins her second Australian Open title, beating Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-3! 

2hours agoSaturday 20 February 2021 at 10:01am

By Andrew Mcgarry

Osaka to serve at 6-4, 5-3

Wow – Osaka goes down the line and hits it centimetre perfect. 15-0 

Brady is still going for the lines as well, but her attempted winner goes wide. two points away.

Brady launches at a first serve – it’s well long. Championship point!

3hours agoSaturday 20 February 2021 at 9:56am

By Andrew Mcgarry

Brady to serve at 6-4, 5-2

Second serve. Brady goes for everything, but Osaka stays cool – she hits a winner into the open court and she’s three pioints away.

Great forehand winner from Brady! but now another second serve.

A looping serve down the T is blocked long by Osaka. 30-15 

Brady’s first serve stats are not good enough. She keeps firing back at Osaka, but one goes well out. 30-30

Great play! A serve to the corner, Osaka gets it back but Brady hits the backhand from one corner to the other for 40-30.

Osaka hits back with a ridiculous angled crosscourt winner. Deuce

Second serve again,this time she gets out of the point when Osaka hits the net. ADV Brady

And she gets it done, as Osaka’s blocked return flies wide.

3hours agoSaturday 20 February 2021 at 9:52am

By Andrew Mcgarry

Osaka to serve at 6-4, 4-2

Solid start, Brady hits it down into the court. 

Now an ace down the T! 30-0 

There were some SEVERELY hit groundstrokes in that point – and Brady makes Osaka give the error as the crowd roars.

Now it’s Osaka’s turn – she dominates the point for 40-15.

Osaka thought she had an ace there- but she ends up losing the point after Brady’s ability to keep punching leaves Osaka to hit the net-cord again and fly out.

But that’s game! Another error from Brady and osaka is a game away from the title! 

3hours agoSaturday 20 February 2021 at 9:50am

By Andrew Mcgarry

Brady to serve at 4-6, 1-4

Can she back up with a hold?

Solid first serve forces Osaka to barrel a forehand long.

This is desperation stuff, but Brady comes to the net and charges – she gets the putaway and it’s 30-0.

Brady races through the next point and she’s close to the hold.

That’s it! A serve wide to the backhand and Osaka can only block it short of the net.

3hours agoSaturday 20 February 2021 at 9:43am

By Andrew Mcgarry

Osaka to serve at 6-4, 4-0

She starts the same way as before. She forces another error from Brady, but then nets one of her own to make it 15-15.

A swinging serve wide to the forehand goes out.. Second serve finds Brady hitting with too much adrenaline. It’s way long. 30-15 

Brady isn’t giving up – she battles her way through that point and Osaka nets for 30-30 as the crowd cheers. They want to see more tennis.

Good lord – a second serve means nothing as Osaka absolutely NAILS an off-backhand winner. Game point.

Bravo Brady – she pulls off three ferocious forehands, the final one goes wide of Osaka in the corner for deuce.

Another second serve – it’s now or never for Brady… and she gets the point, despite one return going off the frame and landing on the line!

Break point, second serve. Too good from Osaka there, they both went for it to all corners of the court but Brady blinks first as her slice goes well wide.

Amazing counterpunching from brady there – on the back foot but she finds a brilliant return that Osaka nets. ADV Brady.

And she breaks! Osaka hits the net again. It’s 4-1! 

3hours agoSaturday 20 February 2021 at 9:41am

By Andrew Mcgarry

It’s 12 points to five to Osaka in this second set – to say Brady is in trouble is an understatement.

She wins the opening point on serve – but Osaka’s power is just too good, she goes to one corner and then the other and it’s 15-15

Brady is off balance here, she’s trying for everything and it’s not coming off – another error makes it 15-30.

Now second serve, this is getting away from her.

A netted cross-court shot from Brady makes two break points.

Second serve – will Osaka jump on this one?

No, it’s a rally – but Brady hits the net again and it’s 4-0. We’re nearly done here.