Jennifer Brady on why Naomi Osaka is such a tough opponent

Jennifer Brady on why Naomi Osaka is such a tough opponent

"She hits such a big ball," said the former UCLA Bruin. "It's just the aggressiveness that she brings."

Having just gone three tight sets against Naomi Osaka at the US Open, Jennifer Brady knows exactly what makes the two-time Grand Slam winner so tough to play.

Osaka, one of the tour's hardest hitters who has also improved her consistency and movement, defeated Brady 7-6 (1), 3-6, 6-3 in the semifinals.

“I’d say she's just aggressive, plays a big game,” Brady said. “When her serve's on, it's really tough to break her. She puts pressure on you to hold your serve, because you know that you're getting very minimal looks when she's serving. It just the aggressiveness that she brings.”

And because of that, Brady—like Osaka's opponents often do—found it hard to play her own game. The 25-year-old usually controls points with her big forehand, but was often on defense.

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“I felt like I was trying to mix it up when I could," Brady said. "She just hits such a big ball. 
"It was who was the more aggressive player on every single point. I think it rewarded the more aggressive player."

Still, reaching her first Grand Slam semifinal and producing a high-level performance showed Brady she's also tough to play.

"Maybe she was the more aggressive player today," she said. "I'm pretty happy with myself, with my effort, and my mentality.

"I treated each match as the same, came in with the same mentality. The only goal I had was just to compete on every single point. I felt like that's what I did."