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The Latest: Osaka, Brady start Australian Open women’s final

February 20, 2021 GMT
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Japan's Naomi Osaka hits a backhand return to United States' Serena Williams during their semifinal match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021.(AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
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Japan's Naomi Osaka hits a backhand return to United States' Serena Williams during their semifinal match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021.(AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Latest on the Australian Open tennis tournament (all times local):

7:46 p.m.

Naomi Osaka of Japan and Jennifer Brady of the United States have started play in the Australian Open women’s final.

The third-seeded Osaka is bidding for her fourth Grand Slam title in Saturday’s match.

One of those championships came at Melbourne Park in 2019. The other two were at the U.S. Open in 2018 and 2020.

The 22nd-seeded Brady is playing in a major final for the first time at age 25.

She is from Pennsylvania and played college tennis at UCLA.

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5:30 p.m.

Naomi Osaka and Jennifer Brady are preparing to play in the Australian Open final.

The 23-year-old Osaka is seeking her fourth Grand Slam title.

The 25-year-old Brady is making her debut in a title match at a major tournament.

They are due on court at Rod Laver Arena at 7:30 p.m. local time (3:30 a.m. EST). The stadium is allowed to be at half capacity — about 7,500 fans — on Saturday after spectators were barred earlier in the tournament during a five-day COVID-19 lockdown.

Osaka is seeded No. 3 and is on a 20-match winning streak.

She is 3-0 in previous Grand Slam finals, winning the Australian Open in 2019 and the U.S. Open in 2018 and 2020.

The 2020 AP Female Athlete of the Year was born in Japan and moved to the United States when she was 3.

The 22nd-seeded Brady lost to Osaka in the U.S. Open semifinals last year. She is from Pennsylvania and played college tennis at UCLA.

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