We all should have seen this coming at the US Open, right? Coco Gauff has been playing the best tennis of her career over the last couple of months, while Aryna Sabalenka has been playing fantastically for a couple of years. Sabalenka will be the new number one on the WTA tour when the rankings come out next week, but Gauff might be becoming her toughest competition for the foreseeable future.
Coco Gauff, despite an in-match protest by four environmentalists which caused a 49-minute delay that had nothing to do with Gauff, was able to dispatch Karolina Muchova is straight sets. Gauff is just playing at a high level right now that few players can match. And Gauff appears to be able to sustain her run of success as she has the skills to do so. There’s nothing gimmicky about her game.
Against Muchova, Gauff was far from perfect in the 6-4 7-5 victory. Gauff had 13 winners but 25 unforced errors. She only had one ace. But Muchova was worse with 15 winners but 36 unforced errors. The biggest difference in the match was that Muchova simply couldn’t control the points on her second serve.
Sabalenka and Gauff will face off in the US Open final
Sabalenka won by the odd score of 0-6 7-6(1) 7-6(5) over Madison Keys. This is the second time in the tournament a player has been bageled in the first set only to come back to win. The shocking part is that Sabalenka was so dominated in the first set after not losing a set in the tournament prior to the semifinals.
The match was between two of the heavier hitters on the women’s tour. Sabalenka’s serve was a force – she finished with 12 aces against 4 double-faults – and she kept trusting her power even after the horrible first set. Keys has always played with great power, too, but her touch is inconsistent and much weaker than Sabalenka’s. Still, Keys had a 5-3 lead in the second set as well and was on the verge of putting two American women in the US Open finals.
Sabalenka became just the third woman in the open era to come back to win after losing 6-0 in the first set. Steffi Graff (1992 French Open) and Ana Ivanovic (2008 Australian Open) were the other two, and Ivanovic went on to win the final at the Aussie as well that year. Will Sabalenka take the US Open and further cement her standing as the new WTA number one? Or will Coco Gauff continue her climb toward number one herself by winning her first Grand Slam?