Date: 17 February 2021
Tournament: Australian Open 2021
Venue: Melbourne, Australia
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: AUD $80 million
Live Telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | UK - Eurosport 1 | India - Sony Six
Jennifer Brady vs Jessica Pegula preview
Jennifer Brady has been one of the standout performers on the WTA tour since the resumption of the tennis circuit in August. The 25-year-old won her first WTA singles title at the WTA Top Seed Open in Lexington, and followed that up by reaching her first Major semifinal at the US Open.
Brady scored wins over the likes of Angelique Kerber, Caroline Garcia and Yulia Putintseva in New York, before going down to eventual champion Naomi Osaka.
The American then reached the semifinals of the WTA event in Ostrava at the end of the season and also of the Grampians Trophy just prior to the Australian Open. Those performances have helped her move to a career-best ranking of No. 24.
Jessica Pegula on the other hand is ranked No. 61 in the world, close to her career-best of No. 55 which she achieved in August 2019. Pegula also has one WTA singles title to her credit, which came at the Washington Open in 2019.
The 26-year-old reached the final of the ASB Classic last January, losing to Serena Williams. She also made the quarterfinals of the Western & Southern Open in August as a qualifier.
Pegula's best performance at a Major prior to this fortnight had been reaching the third round of the 2020 US Open.
Jennifer Brady vs Jessica Pegula head-to-head
Jennifer Brady and Jessica Pegula have met once on the WTA Tour, with Pegula leading their head-to-head 1-0.
The 26-year-old scored a 7-6, 6-4 win over Brady at the Western & Southern Open in New York last August.
Jennifer Brady vs Jessica Pegula prediction
Jessica Pegula has looked in great form this week in Melbourne. She started off her tournament with a straight-sets win over No. 12 Victoria Azarenka, and then scored comprehensive victories over former US Open champion Sam Stosur and Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic.
On Monday, Pegula knocked out No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina in three sets to advance to her first ever Grand Slam quarterfinal.
But Jennifer Brady has looked equally impressive so far in the tournament. She dropped just 11 games in her first three wins over Aliona Bolsova, Madison Brengle and Kaja Juvan.
On Monday, Brady defeated No. 28 seed Donna Vekic 6-1, 7-5 to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time at the Australian Open.
Brady is one of the fittest players on the WTA tour and plays an aggressive game, built around a strong serve and heavy groundstrokes. Pegula also likes to attack though, and her results have shown significant improvement in recent times.
The two are good friends and also occasional practice partners, as seen in their sign-off messages after their wins in Melbourne.
Both players will be looking to take the iniative at the earliest opportunity on Wednesday. Whoever plays cleaner tennis, with fewer errors, will emerge as the winner.
Brady has been at this stage in a Major before and has also had more solid results over the past few months. That makes her the slight favorite in this all-American clash.
Prediction: Jennifer Brady to win in three sets.