With all the illustrious American names in the field at the Top Seed Open in Lexington – Serena, Venus, Sloane, Coco – two unseeded players ended up the last two, ready to fight for the title on Sunday.
Jil Teichmann, one of the few players to opt for North American over Europe this week, is also in the doubles final.
As for Jennifer Brady, her 2020 season was already off to a roaring start before tennis shut down. So it’s not a shock that she might have picked up right where she left off.
Teichmann crushed No. 5 seed Yulia Putintseva in the second round. She then routined Cici Bellis before beating Shelby Rogers in the semifinals.
Rogers was less than 24 hours off her first career meeting with Serena Williams. She lost the first set 6-1, but came back to win in a third-set tiebreak.
Brady bests Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff also was coming off a tough win. Seemingly out of it against Ons Jabeur, she found a way to come back to victory just as she had the previous day against No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka.
The teenager didn’t have much fight against Brady, who began the season with big runs in Brisbane and Dubai. Those two came through the lower half of the draw, which seemed a more routine path with the Williams sisters, Gauff, Victoria Azarenka and Sloane Stephens in their way in the top half.
Brady, who showed up Australia fitter than we’ve ever seen her, qualified in Brisbane and defeated both Maria Sharapova and Ashleigh Barty on her way to the quarterfinals.
Two great Brady runs early in 2020
In Dubai, where she also qualified, Brady upset three straight top-20 players: Elina Svitolina, Marketa Vondrousova and Garbiñe Muguruza. Simona Halep beat her in the semifinals.
Brady also played World Team Tennis last month. So even though this was her first tournament back, she had a leg up on many of her opponents.
Here’s what Teichmann had to say:
And here’s Brady: