AMERICAN Coco Gauff and Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka have advanced to the women’s singles final of the US Open after tough victories overnight.
The 19-year-old Gauff defeated Karolina Muchova 6-4, 7-5 to reach her first-ever final of the Grand Slam tournament in the early hours of today after the match was halted for nearly an hour when an environmental activist glued his feet to the floor of Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.
Gauff, who had beaten Muchova in the Cincinnati final last month to claim the biggest title of her young career so far, was inspired by the home crowd to beat the Czech once again.
“Some of those points, it was so loud and I don’t know if my ears are going to be okay,” Gauff said.
“I grew up watching this tournament so much so it means a lot to me to be in the final. A lot to celebrate but the job is not done.”
Sixth seed Gauff will next face Sabalenka in Saturday’s final.
The semi-final was delayed by roughly 50 minutes early in the second set due to a protest by four spectators.
The United States Tennis Association said three of the four were escorted out of the stadium without incident but a fourth “affixed their bare feet to the floor of the seating bowl”.
Second seed Sabalenka needed an epic Grand Slam fightback to battle past Madison Keys 0-6, 7-6, 7-6 in the second semi-final to deny the home crowd an all-American US Open women’s final.
A full house of spectators waving American flags were ready to celebrate getting the final they hoped for when Keys dominated the first set and was 5-3 up in the second, serving for a spot in the final.
But Sabalenka’s stunning recovery began by breaking Keys to get back to 5-4 and continuing the match. It would end two tie-breaks later with the Belarusian advancing into her second Grand Slam final of the season.
PHOTO: Coco Gauff.