Brady wins 1st WTA Tour match in 2 years in DC

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WASHINGTON — Jennifer Brady won her first WTA Tour match in two years on Tuesday, overwhelming 28th-ranked Anhelina Kalinina 6-2, 6-1 in a little over an hour at the DC Open.

“I’m really happy with the way I came out and dealt with my emotions,” Brady said. “Tennis is a part of who I am, and I hope I never lose that.”

She is a 28-year-old from Pennsylvania who was the runner-up at the 2021 Australian Open and a semifinalist at the 2020 U.S. Open.

Brady has been ranked as high as 13th but currently is 1,056th after being sidelined since August 2021. She dealt with a fracture in her right knee and torn tissue in her left foot.

“A lot of time, a lot of patience, on and off the court,” Brady said.

At John Harris Court on a cloudy afternoon with the temperature in the low 80s Fahrenheit (mid-20s Celsius), she showed off some of the skills that used to carry her to the latter stages of hard-court Grand Slam tournaments. She consistently delivered serves faster than 105 mph (169 kph) and followed up with quick-strike, big-hitting baseline play, using forehands and backhands to win points quickly.

Her shoes squeaked around the court and she would sometimes even slide or nearly do splits as she chased down Kalinina’s shots and claimed 10 of the match’s last 11 games.

Next for Brady will be a second-round matchup against 2017 U.S. Open finalist Madison Keys, the DC Open’s seventh seed, or Zheng Qinwen, last year’s WTA Newcomer of the Year. Keys – who happens to be Brady’s doubles partner in Washington – and Zheng were scheduled to face each other Tuesday night.

That match was to follow Frances Tiafoe, a U.S. Open semifinalist last year and the No. 2 seed in the DC Open men’s field, against Aslan Karatsev.

In earlier men’s action Tuesday, No. 5 Grigor Dimitrov beat Mackenzie McDonald 7-6 (6), 6-2, qualifier Shang Juncheng defeated No. 14 Ben Shelton 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, Thanasi Kokkinakis got past Taro Daniel 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, and Sho Shimabukuro eliminated Lloyd Harris 6-4, 6-4.

Shimabukuro lost in qualifying, but he got into the main draw when 2014 U.S. Open runner-up Kei Nishikori withdrew because of an injured left knee.

The DC Open was supposed to be Nishikori’s second ATP Tour event on his comeback from hip surgery in January 2022.

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