Tennis player with central Pennsylvania roots enjoying breakout success at U.S. Open

Jennifer Brady, of the United States, reacts after defeating Angelique Kerber, of Germany, during the fourth round of the US Open tennis championships, Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

A woman with central Pennsylvania roots is enjoying the most successful run of her professional tennis career at the 2020 U.S. Open in New York.

Jennifer Brady has advanced to the quarterfinals in the Grand Slam event.

Brady grew up in the Cumberland Valley School District until she was about 9, when her family moved to Florida.Her family ties in the central Pennsylvania region still run deep. Her father, Pat, graduated from Delone Catholic High School in McSherrystown, Adams County, where he was a standout football player and later an NCAA Division II All-America linebacker at East Stroudsburg University.

Two of her cousins were also standout athletes at Delone. Nick Brady excelled in basketball for the Squires and later for York College. Jason Brady was a star football lineman at Delone who later excelled for Shippensburg University.

Jennifer Brady still has relatives in the Hanover area.

Jennifer Brady reached the pinnacle of her tennis career on Sunday when she dominated former U.S. Open champion Angelique Kerber, 6-1, 6-4.

After the match, she clasped her hands, threw back her head, closed her eyes and soaked in the biggest moment of her tennis career.

“Wow,” she said, describing the moment. “Just wow.”

A bracket lacking six of the top eight women in the rankings because of injuries and coronavirus concerns has given up-and-comers a chance to seize the moment. Nobody has done it better than the 25-year-old Brady, who has yet to drop a set and has lost only 19 games in her four matches.

For Kerber, it was an abrupt end to a resurgent week. The three-time major champion, including at the 2016 U.S. Open champion, couldn’t make headway against the American, whose biggest challenge came leading 3-2 in the second set.

Brady took a medical timeout and returned to the court with her upper left leg wrapped.

“My leg was bothering me and I wasn’t serving well,” said Brady, who is now based in Florida and ranked No. 41. “I was glad to close it out.”

Brady had never reached a Grand Slam quarterfinal. Her impressive week – as good as anyone’s – has provided a breakout moment.

“She’s hitting the ball really fast,” Kerber said. “She’s playing well. She has confidence. Let’s see how far she can get here, but for sure she can get far.”

Brady will play Yulia Putintseva in Tuesday's quarterfinals. The 35th-ranked Putintseva moved to the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 victory over No. 8 seed Petra Martic and her first berth in a U.S. Open quarterfinal.

Brady recently won her first Women's Tennis Association title when she took the Top Seed Open in Lexington, Kentucky, in August.