Tennis will crown its first Grand Slam singles champion of 2021 when the Australian Open holds the women’s final Saturday in Melbourne.
Naomi Osaka is seeking her fourth career Grand Slam singles title and second in Melbourne, while rising star Jennifer Brady seeks to win her first and become the second consecutive American women to win the Australian Open, following Sofia Kenin’s victory last year.
The No. 3 seed from Japan has been the dominant player on hardcourt for the past few years and is riding a 20-match winning streak after beating seven-time Australian Open champion Serena Williams in the semifinals. Osaka, 23, won the Australian Open in 2019 and the U.S. Open in 2018 and 2020 and was the highest paid female athlete in the world last year, according to Forbes.
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Brady, ranked 24th in the world but seeded No. 22 in Australia, broke through on the Grand Slam stage last year when she reached the U.S. Open semifinals, pushing Osaka to three sets in a highly entertaining and competitive match. The 25-year-old from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, whose best result in Australia before this year was the Round of 16 in 2017, had to undergo a two-week hard quarantine after arriving in Melbourne because of Australia’s strict COVID-19 pandemic regulations.
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The match is scheduled for 3:30 a.m. ET Saturday (7:30 p.m. in Melbourne) at Rod Laver Arena.
ESPN and ESPN Deporte (Spanish-language) will have the live broadcast at 3:30 a.m. ET. ESPN 2 will show a replay at 8 a.m. ET, and ESPN News will show another replay at 1 p.m. ET Saturday.