Gauff Rolls Into US Open Semifinals, Gets Muchova In SF; Sabalenka, Keys Wed Favorites

by Staff | September 5th, 2023, 10:32 pm
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On the hottest day of the event, Coco Gauff barely broke a sweat destroying Jelena Ostapenko 6-0, 6-2 to reach her first US Open semifinal and second Grand Slam semifinal.

“I’m so happy,” Gauff told the crowd. “Last year I lost in the quarterfinals. I’m happy and ready to get back to work on the next one

“Honestly I didn’t feel comfortable at all during the match – even on the match points. It’s tough against her, because you can’t really be aggressive.”

The 19-year-old blew out Ostapenko in just 20 minutes to take an opening set lead. She would pull ahead 1-0 in the second before Ostapenko started to get her teeth in the match, but the Latvian couldn’t handle the defense, speed and she misfired on her strokes with 36 unforced errors.

Gauff missed just five returns winning the first serve games of the match. She becomes the first teen to make the US Open semifinals since 19-year-old Serena Williams in 2001.

“Being in any sentence with her is great,” Gauff said. “She’s the greatest player of all time. I’m nothing close to that yet, but I’m just honored to be in the same sentence. It’s something that I’m used to. I’m not going to sit here and be like, ‘Oh, I’m shocked.’ I feel like a lot of the stats have aligned with her, and people find new things to think about. I was the first teenager in the quarters and now semis, so I’m guessing if I win they’re going to be, like, finals. I never take it for granted. She’s my idol. I think if you told me when I was younger that I would be in these same stat lines as her, I would freak out.”

On Thursday night, Gauff will get a replay of her Cincinnati title against Karolina Muchova. The 27-year-old Muchova won 6-0, 6-3 decision over Sorana Cirstea.

While the score was decidedly one-sided, Cirstea finished just 1-of-11 on break points and was 11 of 27 at the net.

“She’s an amazing player. She has the home crowd here,” Muchova said of Gauff. “It’s going to be very tough. I’m trying to enjoy this win, then I’ll try to put up a fight against Coco.”

“I do think she said that she was physically struggling in that match, so I don’t think that will be the case again if I were to play her just because there is a day in between,” Gauff said of the rematch. “I’m going to approach it differently, honestly.”

The final two slots in the women’s semifinals will be filled. Both matches are first-time meetings with Aryna Sabalenka challenging 20-year-old Qinwen Zheng.

Sabalenka will seek her third straight US Open semifinal and sixth straight at a Grand Slam. Zheng is in her first Slam elite eight.

“Forehand is really heavy, I would say backhand as well,” Sabalenka said of Zheng. “Serving well. Moving well. It’s like for her, nothing to lose so she’s playing at her best.

At night Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova takes an 11-match win streak in Grand Slams against 2017 finalist Madison Keys. Vondrousova has never been to the US Open quarterfinals. Keys just upset American No. 1 Jessica Pegula.

“To be completely honest,” Keys said on Monday. “I didn’t watch a ton of the Wimbledon final, but she’s a great player. I think her career has only not been as good as it could be just because of injuries and things like that. Her level is 100%.

“Seeing that she’s been able to now win a Grand Slam and be in the quarterfinals here, I think she has a unique style because I think she balances being a little bit trickier but also has some pretty good power and finesse.”

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