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By Richard Pagliaro | Thursday, January 20, 2020

Jennifer Brady

Qualifier Jennifer Brady edged Garbiñe Muguruza 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 scoring her sixth straight win to charge into her first Premier-level semifinal in Dubai.

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve

Down a set to Garbiñe Muguruza in today's Dubai quarterfinals, Jennifer Brady received a reality check from her coach advising her to play "Brady tennis." 

The American qualifier imposed her bold brand of assertive tennis to attain a milestone.

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A fierece Brady denied nine of 10 break points out-dueling Australian Open finalist Muguruza 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 in a two hour, seven minute skirmish at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

It was Brady's sixth straight win and sends her into her first Premier-level semifinal where she will face top-seeded Simona Halep, who was a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 victor over seventh-seeded Aryna Sabalenka in today's final quarterfinal.

"Amazing; it was a tough match today and I'm really happy to be in the semifinals here," Brady said. "I think [Brady tennis] it’s from everyone here watching from that point on till the end of the match just committing to my shots, playing aggressive, committing and believing and just being as aggressive as possible."

It is Brady's second win over a Grand Slam champion this season.

Last month, Brady toppled world No. 1 and reigning Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty in Brisbane.

The former UCLA Bruin suffered opening-round exits in Melbourne and St. Petersburg, but has found her range in the desert streaking through six straight wins, including a 6-2, 6-1 thrashing of two-time Dubai champion Elina Svitolina in her opener.

Brady burst out to a 5-2 lead today, but Muguruza roared back.

Both women were cracking the ball cleanly with pace and depth as Muguruza held at 30 for 3-5 forcing Brady to serve out the opening set. Brady had already fended off four break points in the set when she faced a fifth. Brady slid an ace out wide to save it then slapped a couple of flat forehands into net to gift the break back.

The world No. 52 called for her coach who advised her to keep attacking her shots, aim for bigger targets and stay positive.

Forty minutes into the match, Muguruza exploited a pair of net cords and lashed a forehand down the line achieving equality after 10 games.

Growling with more inten in the tie breaker, the 26-year-old Spaniard slammed back everything Brady threw at her and stepped up to scald a forehand into the corner for set point. When Brady's backhand sailed long, Muguruza collected the 55-minute opening set on the strength of 14 winners compared to eight for her opponent.

Undeterred, Brady ran off five games in a row playing dynamic "Brady tennis" to take the second set and go up 1-0 in the third. Serving to extend the match, Muguruza hit another net-cord that sat up near mid-court. Swooping forward, Brady belted a forehand for a second set point and closed on the Spaniard's error.

The day began with red-hot Elena Rybakina stunning second-seeded Karolina Pliskova 7-6(1), 6-3 in a clash of two of the WTA's biggest servers.

Fresh off her run to the St. Petersburg final, the 19th-ranked Rybakina raised her WTA-best record to 18-3.

The 19th-ranked Rybakina ripped 11 aces compared to three for Pliskova and fought off nine of 10 break points. The Moscow-born Rybakina has hit 126 aces in 21 matches this season.

Rybakina, who will rise to a new career-high ranking on Monday, will play either eighth-seeded Petra Martic or Australian Open quarterfinalist Anett Kontaveit for a place in her fourth final of the season.


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