brady 1024x683 - USA’s Brady conquers nerves, races to first US Open semifinal
Jennifer Brady of the United States returns the ball during her Women’s Singles quarterfinal match against Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan on Day Nine of the 2020 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8, 2020 in the Queens borough of New York City. Al Bello/Getty Images/AFP

NEW YORK — American Jennifer Brady battled nerves to defeat Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva in straight sets and reach the semi-finals of the US Open for the first time Tuesday.

Brady, seeded 28th, beat her 23rd-seeded opponent 6-3, 6-2, in just 1hr 9min inside Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“Coming into the match today, honestly I was feeling like I was going to poop my pants. I was very nervous,” said Brady.

“I just tried to really stay calm and keep it cool as a cucumber out there,” she added.

Brady will play either fourth seed Naomi Osaka or fellow American Shelby Rogers, who is unseeded, for a place in the final.

The 25-year-old had been competing in her first Grand Slam quarter-final.

Her previous best US Open appearance was when she reached the last 16 in 2017. She also reached the same stage of the Australian Open that year.

Brady is yet to drop a set at the 2020 US Open and has lost only 24 games during her march to the semis, the fewest of anyone left in the draw.

In the last 16 she knocked out three-time Grand Slam champion and 2016 US Open winner Angelique Kerber.

Putintseva struggled to cope with Brady’s booming forehands and ability to dart around the court.

Brady raced to an 4-0 lead in the first set, breaking Putintseva’s serve twice.

The Kazakh picked herself up, narrowing the gap to 4-2, but she struggled to find rhythm as Brady’s powerful service game helped her close out the first set.

Brady then sped to a 2-0 lead in set two before Putintseva broke back to make it 2-2. 

But Brady’s strength and fitness was the difference as she went on to win the next four games, sealing the match with a successful challenge of a Putintseva forehand that had been called in.

Brady smashed 22 winners compared to just seven for Putintseva.

She said the absence of fans had eased the pressure slightly but that she wished she could have experienced the famously boisterous New York crowd.

“I think it would have been awesome to have that experience to even just experience the loud roar on Ashe with 20,000 people.

“I definitely would have enjoyed that, but the times that we’re in, unfortunately we can’t have that and I’m just happy to be out there competing,” Brady told reporters.

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