MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Jennifer Brady had never played in one of the four Grand Slam events in tennis before she qualified for the Australian Open. Now the 21-year-old American is into the fourth round.
Brady had a 7-6 (4), 6-2 win over 14th-seeded Elena Vesnina on Show Court 2 on Saturday, which essentially is an outside court for singles on the first weekend of the season’s first major.
Singles matches featuring higher-ranked women were being played on the main court — Rod Laver Arena — and the No. 2 court — Margaret Court Arena. A non-competitive veterans doubles match featuring the McEnroe pairing of John and Patrick got priority for the No. 3 court — Hisense Arena.
By saving five match points before rallying to beat Heather Watson in the second round, Brady effectively doubled her number of career wins.
Brady had only ever won two matches in the top flight — back-to-back wins at the WTA event at Guangzhou, China, last year — and had missed out on qualifying for the U.S. Open three times, and also at the French Open and Wimbledon last year.
She will next play either Maria Sakkari or Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in the Round of 16.
No. 16-seeded Barbora Strycova beat No. 21 Caroline Garcia 6-2, 7-5 to reach the fourth round, where she’ll meet either Serena Williams or Nicole Gibbs.
Six-time Australian Open champion Williams is bidding for an Open era record 23rd Grand Slam title.