Brady beaten but proud of Grand Slam progress

NEW YORK (Reuters) - American Jennifer Brady was proud of reaching her maiden Grand Slam semi-final at the U.S. Open and says she left everything on the court in her 7-6(1) 3-6 6-3 semi-final defeat to Naomi Osaka on Thursday.

Sep 10, 2020; Flushing Meadows, New York, USA; Jennifer Brady of the United States hits the ball against Naomi Osaka of Japan in the women's singles semifinals match on day eleven of the 2020 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Brady, whose best performance at the majors had been getting to the fourth round at Melbourne and Flushing Meadows in 2017, matched 2018 U.S. Open champion Osaka shot-for-shot in a quality match on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court.

“I think I’m just proud of my effort, that I treated each match as the same, came in with the same mentality,” the 25-year-old told reporters.

“The only goal I had was just to compete on every single point. I felt like that’s what I did.”

Brady, seeded 28th, clinched her first WTA title at Lexington last month and had not dropped a set at the U.S. Open coming into Thursday’s semi-final.

“I think I handled the situation pretty well. I was obviously pretty nervous, playing here on Arthur Ashe, night match, semi-finals, a match to play for the finals of the U.S. Open,” she said.

“I felt like I went out there and I believed that I could win the match. Obviously I didn’t, but I’m pretty happy with myself, with my effort, and my mentality these past couple weeks.”

Brady matched Osaka’s 35 winners but had eight more unforced errors than her Japanese opponent.

“I felt like we were both serving pretty well. It really was just about making first serves, first ball after that,” said Brady, adding that she would take a break before playing the French Open from Sept. 27.

“I think it rewarded the more aggressive player, maybe she was the more aggressive player today. She played cleaner at times ... it was a pretty high-quality match from both of us.”

Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Peter Rutherford