Gauff defeats Muchova in straight sets
Coco Gauff, the 19-year-old American sensation, has reached her first Grand Slam final at the US Open. She defeated No. 10 seed Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic in straight sets, 6-4, 7-5, on Thursday night at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Gauff displayed her impressive skills and composure throughout the match, breaking Muchova’s serve five times and saving eight of 11 break points. She also hit 24 winners and only 18 unforced errors, while Muchova made 31 errors and struggled with her serve.
Gauff became the youngest player to reach a Grand Slam final since Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon in 2004 at 17. She also became the first American teenager to reach the US Open final since Serena Williams in 1999, who was also 19 at the time. Gauff said she was inspired by Williams and other legends of the game. “I grew up watching Serena, Venus, Roger [Federer] and Rafa [Nadal], so it feels surreal to be in this position,” she said after the match. “I’m just happy that I’m able to play in front of these amazing fans and give them a good show.”
Sabalenka survives Keys in a thriller
Gauff will face No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in the final on Saturday. Sabalenka, who won the Australian Open earlier this year, came back from a disastrous first set to beat American Madison Keys in a thrilling three-setter, 0-6, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (3). Sabalenka was completely outplayed by Keys in the first set, losing it in just 19 minutes and winning only seven points. She then faced a set point in the second set at 5-6, but managed to save it with a forehand winner and force a tiebreak. She won the tiebreak after saving another set point with an ace.
The third set was also a tight affair, with both players exchanging breaks and holding their nerves. Sabalenka had two match points at 5-4, but Keys fought them off with some aggressive shots. Keys then had a break point at 5-5, but Sabalenka saved it with a backhand winner. The match went to another tiebreak, where Sabalenka took control with her powerful serve and forehand. She sealed the victory with a crosscourt forehand winner after two hours and 28 minutes of intense battle.
Sabalenka said she was proud of her comeback and praised Keys for her performance. “She played unbelievable today. She was hitting every ball so hard and so clean,” she said. “I’m really happy that I could find a way to win this match. It was one of the toughest matches in my career.” Sabalenka also said she was looking forward to playing Gauff in the final and expected a tough challenge. “She’s an amazing player and a great fighter,” she said. “She’s playing really well here and I’m sure it’s going to be a great final.”
Gauff vs Sabalenka: What to expect
The final between Gauff and Sabalenka will be a clash of styles and generations. Gauff is a versatile player who can mix up her game with slices, drop shots, lobs and volleys. She is also very fast and agile on the court, covering a lot of ground and retrieving balls. Sabalenka is a power hitter who relies on her big serve and forehand to dominate rallies. She is also very aggressive and likes to take risks with her shots.
Gauff and Sabalenka have never played each other before, so it will be interesting to see how they adapt to each other’s game. Both players have shown great mental strength and resilience in their matches, overcoming adversity and pressure. Both players also have a lot of support from the fans, especially Gauff, who has become a fan favorite with her charismatic personality and inspiring story.
The final will be played on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN. It will be a historic occasion for both players, as Gauff will try to become the youngest Grand Slam champion since Martina Hingis in 1997, while Sabalenka will try to win her second major title of the year and cement her status as one of the best players in the world.