By Amy Tennery
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jennifer Brady produced a fearless brand of tennis to topple 2016 champion Angelique Kerber 6-1 6-4 and reach the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time at the U.S. Open on Sunday.
Brady appeared firmly in control from the start, opening the campaign with an ace and utilising her monster forehand to break down Kerber's defence.
A double fault followed by two errors from Kerber handed Brady a break for a 2-1 lead, with the American eventually closing out the set in 22 minutes.
A medical timeout to get her left thigh taped midway through the second set failed to distract Brady as she fended off two break points to hold her serve for a 5-3 lead.
She sealed the win with a powerful serve that Kerber returned long.
With spectators banned from the tournament due to the coronavirus pandemic, Brady praised Kerber during an on-court interview in an empty Louis Armstrong Stadium.
"(Kerber is) a great player, she makes you fight for every point," said the 25-year-old Brady, who clinched her first WTA title last month and has only lost only once since the sport returned from the COVID-19 hiatus.
"I came out, I knew what I wanted to do and I’m pretty proud of myself."
The 25-year-old said her leg was "feeling good" after the match.
"Having that physicality that I have, the improvement of my fitness, that brings also the improvement of the mental side," she told reporters.
"Knowing that I can play my game at a high level from the very first point all the way until the end without a dip in my physical abilities."
(Reporting by Amy Tennery, editing by Pritha Sarkar)