AUSTRALIAN OPEN

First-time finalist Brady to face Osaka in decider

Jennifer Brady took down Karolina Muchova 6-4 3-6 6-4 in Thursday's semi-final at Melbourne Park.

Australian Open: First-time finalist Brady to face Osaka in decider

Jennifer Brady will contest her first grand slam final after outlasting Karolina Muchova at the Australian Open.

A beaten semi-finalist at last year's US Open, American Brady took down fellow seed Muchova 6-4 3-6 6-4 in Melbourne on Thursday.

In a nervy finish, Brady wasted four match points before converting the fifth to secure a showdown with former world number one and three-time slam champion Naomi Osaka in Saturday's decider.

Brady (26) had dropped the fewest games en route to the semis and the 22nd seed looked like the player to beat in the opening set on Rod Laver Arena.

Despite Muchova recovering from a slow start to level the set at 2-2, Brady was not to be denied behind a strong first serve, even though her unforced-error tally reached 17 compared to just eight on her opponent's racquet.

High-octane Brady

Just like she did when upstaging world number one Ash Barty in the quarter-finals, 25th seed Muchova composed herself against the high-octane Brady.

Settling into a rhythm, Muchova was almost flawless in the second set, which only featured once unforced error, while the Czech won all of her second-serve points as she only dropped one point on first serve.

Tense finish

Muchova's measured aggression troubled Brady as the semi-final clash headed to a tense decider.

But Brady managed to slow down and settle back into her stride, an early break securing the advantage that the 25-year-old never relinquished in an engrossing finish.

Data Slam: Another finals debutant
Brady is the seventh woman to make her debut in a grand slam final in the past nine majors, after Osaka (won 2018 US Open), Barty (won 2019 French Open), Marketa Vondrousova (lost 2019 French Open), Bianca Andreescu (won 2019 US Open), Sofia Kenin (won 2020 Australian Open) and Iga Swiatek (won 2020 Roland Garros).

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Brady – 20/38
Muchova – 21/29

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Brady – 8/2
Muchova – 1/2

BREAK POINTS WON
Brady – 3/3
Muchova – 3/7