Gauff, Sabalenka to meet in US Open final

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Wilson Blade 9

Aryna Sabalenka prevented an all-American US Open final, recovering from a 6-0 5-3 deficit to beat Madison Keys and join Coco Gauff in the title match.

First semifinal: Coco Gauff beat Karolina Muchova 6-4 7-5

Coco Gauff

Coco Gauff reached her first US Open semifinal with a gutsy 6-4 7-5 win over Karolina Muchova in a match interrupted by protesters for 49 minutes.

Numerous errors by Muchova helped Gauff race to a 5-1 lead in the first set, but once the Czech found her composure, she rallied back to 5-4. Yet, a subpar service game from the tenth seed handed the first set to Gauff, and environmental activists disrupted the match shortly afterwards.

Following the first game of the second set four individuals stood chanting for the end of fossil fuels. Three of them were easily escorted out of the stadium, but the fourth protester glued their bare feet to the floor. Due to the nature of this action, New York Police Department and medical personnel were needed in order to safely remove this individual from the stadium. The four protesters were taken into NYPD custody.

The sixth-seeded Gauff secured a break for 5-3 in the second set, but the teenager dropped serve as she served for the match. The American had to demonstrate all of her resolve to finally get over the line on her fifth match point.

Gauff is through to her second Grand Slam final, having also played the 2022 Roland Garros final. Her recent singles titles in Washington and Cincinnati were the perfect preparation for New York, as Gauff has now extended her record winning streak to 11 matches.

Second semifinal: Aryna Sabalenka beat Madison Keys 0-6 7-6(1) 7-6(5)

Aryna Sabalenka in custom Nike dress at the 2023 US Open

Madison Keys seemed to be cruising to victory as she powered to a 6-0 5-3 lead. The soon-to-be WTA No.1 Aryna Sabalenka wasn’t done yet! She broke at love when Keys was serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set and followed it up with a love hold! Sabalenka had two set points at 6-5, but Keys fought them off with strong serves and forced a tiebreak which the Belarusian dominated 7-1.

In the deciding set, Keys was the first one to go up a break 4-2, but her lead was short-lived as Sabalenka broke back right away and bravely fought off two break points to hold serve for 4-4. The tense set progressed into a super tiebreak. Sabalenka confidently took a 4-0 lead in the climax of the match. Funnily, when she reached seven points won in a tiebreak, Sabalenka started celebrating, forgetting that super tiebreaks are played until ten points.

The 17th-seeded Keys saved two match points, but Sabalenka converted her third opportunity and registered her 50th win for the first time in a season in her career.

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