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Sport

Brady tames 2016 champion Kerber to reach first Grand Slam quarter-final

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jennifer Brady produced a fearless brand of tennis to topple 2016 champion Angelique Kerber 6-1 6-4 and reach the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time at the U.S. Open on Sunday.

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Brady appeared firmly in control from the start, opening the campaign with an ace and utilising her monster forehand to break down Kerber’s defence.

A double fault followed by two errors from Kerber handed Brady a break for a 2-1 lead, with the American eventually closing out the set in 22 minutes.

A medical timeout to get her left thigh taped midway through the second set failed to distract Brady as she fended off two break points to hold her serve for a 5-3 lead.

She sealed the win with a powerful serve that Kerber returned long.

With spectators banned from the tournament due to the coronavirus pandemic, Brady praised Kerber during an on-court interview in an empty Louis Armstrong Stadium.

“(Kerber is) a great player, she makes you fight for every point,” said the 25-year-old Brady, who clinched her first WTA title last month and has only lost only once since the sport returned from the COVID-19 hiatus.

“I came out, I knew what I wanted to do and I’m pretty proud of myself.”

The 25-year-old said her leg was “feeling good” after the match.

“Having that physicality that I have, the improvement of my fitness, that brings also the improvement of the mental side,” she told reporters.

“Knowing that I can play my game at a high level from the very first point all the way until the end without a dip in my physical abilities.”

Reporting by Amy Tennery, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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