Jennifer Brady Breaks Into Top 100 at 2017 Australian Open

America’s Jennifer Brady is into the fourth round of the Australian Open and she might not be done yet.

Jennifer Brady entered the 2017 season completely off the radar on the WTA Tour. However, one of the amazing things with Grand Slam tennis is that an unknown player can burst on the scene, even from the depths of the qualifying draw.

Brady started the 2017 Australian Open several days before most of the players that were in the main draw. The American needed three match wins to get into the main event, something that certainly was not easy for her. In each of her three qualifying wins, Brady needed to go three sets and those efforts included coming from behind in two of the matches. Inside of the main draw, Brady has had an epic match as she went to 10-8 in a deciding set against Heather Watson. On Saturday from Melbourne Park, Brady upset Elena Vesnina to advance to the fourth round.

With her points for qualifying and her fourth-round appearance, Brady is now comfortably within the Top 100 on the women’s tour. If she goes no further at this season’s Australian Open then sheย can still expect a ranking of about 80th or so when the rankings update after the conclusion of play from Melbourne Park. However, Brady has to be thinking about more at this point still, mainly because she’s drawn a beatable player.

So often when a player like Brady gets into the fourth round of a major she has to play someone that is simply too good to lose to an upstart. However, ย Brady will face Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in the fourth round, a veteran player that entered the Aussie ranked 79th in the world. Lucic-Baroni is certainly more proven than Brady as she made the Wimbledon semifinals way back in 1999.

However, the 33 year olds Grand Slam results since that time are spotty to say the least. ย Lucic-Baroni’s fourth-round appearance is only her second in any major this century. She went 15+ years before making a fourth round again after Wimbledon 1999 and before 2017’s Aussie, Lucic-Baroni hadn’t won a match at Melbourne Park since 1998, when Brady was two years old. If L-B can get back to the quarters of a major it would mark a return to that round of a Grand Slam following a 17.5 year hiatus.

At time of writing, Karolina Pliskova remained alive in this section of the draw. She may very well face either Brady or Lucic-Baroni in the quarters. In all likelihood, it would be the Czech player that would advance to the semifinals. However, if Brady can grab a fourth-round win she wouldn’t be far from a Top 60 ranking. If she maintained it then qualifiers would be a thing of the past for her when it comes to the majors. In some of the lower-tiered events she might even be seeded sometimes so her upcoming fourth-round match is truly an important one for her at this stage in her career.

Shane Lambert
    • Walz Izak

      I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss Lucic-Baroni’s chances of putting paid to Brady’s backside because Lucic-Baroni is an outstanding player who’s been through more trials throughout her career than any other player that is currently active on the WTA Tour. And who knows had it not been for those trials back during her earlier career then she might’ve been a double digit Major slams winner by now.