If it weren’t for Jennifer Brady’s run to the final at last year’s Indian Wells WTA 125K just a week before the main event, she very well could have upset Ash Barty in the third round. She was on a tear. But if it weren’t for that same tournament, she wouldn’t have received a direct entry— her final appearance granted her a wild card into the main draw. That’s the one downside to winning tennis matches, not much recovery time.
Getty Images: BNP Paribas Open
In the first two rounds Brady defeated qualifier Nao Hibino the first round and No. 19 seed Caroline Garcia (for the third time that season) in the second round. Defeating Barty in her ninth match in 10 days was a big ask.
Coming into this match, both players were dominating on serve. Barty led the WTA tour in service games won, while Brady led the tour in first-serve points won. After a close beginning to the match, Brady’s legs understandably began to fail her.
Her normally accurate forehand was flying and her serve was misfiring. Barty seized control with her own lethal forehand, and kept Brady off balance with her short slice, an extremely effective shot on the slow-gritty Indian Wells hard courts. Barty would walk away with a routine, 6-3, 6-2 victory.
Brady avenged her loss to Barty this year in Brisbane, which proves on any given day she can defeat the world's best.