Former college tennis student-athlete, Jennifer Brady, captured her first Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) championship of her career Sunday, defeating Jil Teichmann in the singles final round at the inaugural Top Seed Open. The tournament was hosted by Top Seed Tennis Club where the ITA Division III Women’s National Team Indoor Championship was held earlier this year.
Jennifer Brady, who played for UCLA in 2014 and 2015, entered the tournament ranked No. 49 by the WTA. She began the season needing to qualify to get into WTA events and is now in line to be seeded for the U.S. Open.
During her tenure at UCLA, Brady held an impressive career with an 18-4 singles record and went 5-2 at No. 2 and 4-0 at No. 3 in her final season with the Bruins. In just her freshman year, Brady helped lead the Bruins to their second NCAA championship title in program history.
Brady received numerous honors while playing college tennis. She earned ITA All-American honors in both singles and doubles in 2014 and singles in 2015. Attending college continues to prove a valuable route to the professional ranks, as Brady now has a 2014 NCAA championship and a professional tour trophy to prove it.
The 25-year-old Brady did not drop a set throughout the Top Seed Open, which was headlined by the likes of top seed and 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams. Brady was able to fit right in with huge strokes and a laid-back temperament.
Play got underway on the singles side August 10th, when Brady made quick work of 51st-ranked Heather Watson, 6-2, 6-1. That set up a Round of 16 showdown with sixth-seeded Magda Linette, who Brady handed a 6-2, 6-3 defeat to earn a spot in the quarterfinal round.
Next up was Marie Bouzkova in the quarterfinal round, who entered the tournament ranked one spot ahead of Brady. Brady again prevailed with a 6-1, 6-2 decision to earn a spot in the semifinals and a matchup with Coco Gauff.
Gauff, who at 15 years old reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open in January of this year, knocked off Aryna Sabalenka (No. 2 Seed) and Ons Jabeur (No. 8 Seed) before meeting the former Bruin. Brady surrendered a total of just 17 games through four matches and was broken only once — by Gauff. In their match, Brady hit eight aces and won 22 of 26 first-serve points. Gauff’s run would end there, though, as Brady notched a 6-2, 6-4 win.
Brady was then slated to meet up with Jil Teichmann — a 23-year-old left-hander from Switzerland.
Against Teichmann, Brady put only 33% of first serves in play during the first set. But at 3-all in the first set, she saved four breakpoints, then earned the first break of the match in the next game to lead 5-3 when the 63rd-ranked Teichmann shanked a forehand.
That was part of a stretch where Brady punished any mid-court ball from Teichmann with powerful groundstrokes and went up by a set and 2-0 in the second. Brady finished the job by breaking the serve of Teichmann defeating her, 6-3, 6-4.
Lifting a trophy isn’t new to Brady, but one that has a professional title behind it was a different experience. Wearing a face mask, Brady accepted the first WTA trophy of her career, making sure to apply hand sanitizer before raising the new hardware over her head.