Brady defies hard quarantine with Open run

·3-min read

Jennifer Brady is challenging the assertion that no player could emerge from two weeks in hard quarantine and win the Australian Open.

The big-hitting American has defied her 14 days in full hotel lockdown just three weeks before the Open began to gatecrash the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park.

Brady takes on great mate Jessica Pegula in an all-US affair on Wednesday having already exceeded all expectations of the doubters.

Of the 51 singles players out of the 72 Open competitors who were forced into hard quarantine - while their rivals were able to leave their rooms and train for up to five hours a day - Brady is the only one to make it to the last eight.

Thirty-four of the 51 - including multiple major winners and former Australian Open champions Victoria Azarenka and Angelique Kerber - bombed out in round one.

Another 10 departed in round two, six more in round three and no one else even made the last 16.

But Brady is not only still standing, the 25-year-old is contending for the title - a prospect that Aussie Ellen Perez didn't feel was plausible for anyone in the draw after herself being holed up 24/7 in a hotel for 14 days before the Open.

"A lot of people were complaining and I told myself I wasn't going to complain. I mean, there's way worse things going on in the world than me being stuck in a hotel room for 14 days," Brady said.

Armed with an exercise bike and an unbreakable spirit, Brady - a semi-finalist at last year's US Open - rolled with the punches.

And her Open doubles partner, Australia's world No.1 Ash Barty, isn't the least bit surprised to see Brady going deep in the draw.

"Speaking to Jen and obviously practising with her, her perspective on it was amazing," Barty said of the world No.24's quarantine stint.

"She did what she could with what she had and came into this event as prepared as she could be.

"Just having that mindset and that positive outlook on it, being accepting of kind of the cards you've been dealt, was really important.

"She's shown that if you're the ultimate professional and do the things in the way that she's done, it certainly worked for her."

Barty, who lost to Brady in her opening match of the summer last year in Brisbane, could yet square off with the American in Thursday's semi-finals.

The top-seeded home hope players Czech world No.27 Karolina Muchova in Wednesday's other women's quarter-final.

HOW THE 51 SINGLES PLAYERS WHO ENDURED TWO WEEKS OF HARD QUARANTINE FARED AT THE 2021 AUSTRALIAN OPEN:

WOMEN

FIRST ROUND: Paula Badosa, Victoria Arazenka, Ana Blinkova, Sorana Cirstea, Lauren Davis, Leylah Fernandez, Angelique Kerber, Marta Kostyuk, Christina McHale, Alison Riske, Maria Sakkari, Katarina Siniakova, Sloane Stephens, Barbora Strycova

SECOND ROUND: Bianca Andreescu, Barbora Krejcikova, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Elena Rybakina, Heather Watson

THIRD ROUND: Ons Jabeur, Veronika Kudermetova, Ann Li, Yulia Putintseva, Belinda Bencic, Anett Kontaveit

QUARTER-FINALS: Jennifer Brady playing on Wednesday

MEN

FIRST ROUND: Sergei Stakhovsky, Taro Daniel, Hugo Dellin, Frederico Ferreira Silva, Kei Nishikori, Damir Dzhumur, Kimmer Coppeljamans, Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, Benoit Paire, Mikhail Torpegaard, Guido Pella, Quentin Halys, Vasek Pospisil, Botik van deZandshulp, Henri Laaksonen, Tennys Sandgren, Ilya Ivashka, Marcos Giron, Mario Vilella-Martinez, Elias Ymer

SECOND ROUND: Maxime Cressy, Alexandre Muller, Carlos Alcaraz, Pablo Cuevas, Michael Mmoh