UPDATE: Jennifer Brady has beaten former US Open champion Angelique Kerber, 6-1, 6-4, becoming the first former college player to reach the women's quarterfinals since 1994 (Gigi Fernandez, who went to Clemson). She'll play the winner of No. 8 seed Petra Martic and No. 23 seed Yulia Putintseva.
Brady played two seasons at UCLA, and helped the Bruins win the 2014 NCAA team title.
Stay tuned to TENNIS.com for more on this result, from Joel Drucker.
If someone is hitting their forehand better than Jennifer Brady is right now, I haven't seen it. The former UCLA Bruin standout has caught fire this summer, and has yet to lose more than three games in a set at the US Open in her victories over Anna Blinkova, CiCi Bellis and Caroline Garcia. Thanks to another early exit from No. 1 seed Karolina Pliskova, Brady has emerged as a favorite atop the draw, and she’s playing like that’s exactly where she belongs.
Angelique Kerber’s penetrating groundstrokes and consistency from both wings will present Brady with a new set of challenges, but one she should be able to overcome given her outstanding form. Brady worked hard on her fitness during the offseason and carried that commitment through during the WTA's five-month shutdown. It's paid dividends on both occasions: Brady defeated the likes of Ashleigh Barty, Elina Svitolina and Garbine Muguruza in the first installment of the season and when she returned, hoisted her first WTA trophy in Lexington without dropping a set.
In addition to her Fernando Gonzalez-esque forehand, Brady is serving lights out. She racked up 10 aces against Garcia and is well on her way to owning the WTA’s most devastating serve and forehand combo.
See what happened when Garcia made the mistake of approaching to the Brady forehand.
The American’s forehand racquet-head speed really is second to none, which allows her to create sharp angles and stretch her opponents far off the court.
Not only can the American yank opponents off the court with a crosscourt forehand, she can also crack sharp inside-out winners as well.
Brady might overcook it from time to time, but if you give her a mid-court forehand, the point is over, whether she makes it or misses it. Garcia had no answer for Brady's relentless spin and power on Friday.
Brady isn't just favored by the oddsmakers—she also owns a significant UTR advantage. According to UTR’s algorithm, she is currently the 14th best player in the world. Of course, Kerber is a three-time major champion and she will not go down quietly, but she just might be outgunned in this one.
The Pick: Jennifer Brady