2023 US Open Women’s Final preview and prediction: Gauff vs. Sabalenka

Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports /

American phenom Coco Gauff will take on future number one Aryna Sabalenka in the finals of the 2023 US Open. The match will be each player’s second appearance in a major final, with Gauff dropping the 2022 French Open final and Sabalenka winning the 2023 Australian Open.

Here is how each player reached the final. One had it easier than the other. Well, relatively easier.

Coco Gauff

After losing in the first round of Wimbledon, Coco Gauff has been a new player. Gauff followed her impressive summer performances by grinding through a number of difficult wins at the Open. Gauff dropped a set in three of her first four matches, as it appeared that she may be buckling under the pressure of being a title favorite.

However, Gauff’s play and confidence grew in the last two rounds. She easily dispatched former major winner Jelena Ostapenko before overcoming a 50-minute delay and a vigorous comeback by Karolina Muchova in the semifinals. In a previous countdown list, I predicted that Gauff would almost assuredly win a singles major. However, I did not expect her to have the opportunity so soon after a disappointing Wimbledon performance.

Preview and prediction of the US Open final between Gauff and Sabalenka

Aryna Sabalenka

Up until the semifinals, Aryna Sabalenka hardly broke a sweat. Sabalenka, who will rise to world number one next week, had yet to drop more than four games in a set the entire tournament. Sabalenka was especially ruthless in her quarterfinal win over Zheng Qinwen of China.

Given her previous five matches, many were shocked to see Sabalenka down 6-0, 5-3 to Madison Keys. However, Sabalenka relied on her improved mental game and steadied herself against a nervous Keys. Sabalenka was able to eke out a match that featured two of the biggest hitters on tour, ultimately defeating Keys 0-6, 7-6, 7-6.

Final Preview: Who has the Edge?

Gauff currently leads 3-2 in her head-to-head rivalry win Sabalenka. Sabalenka and Gauff met previously this year at Indian Wells, with Sabalenka winning in straight sets.

Gauff enters the match as the most in-form player of the summer. Gauff won two titles in the lead-up to the US Open, including securing her first victory over Iga Swiatek. Gauff has gone after her serve more, has shored up her forehand, and is absolutely thriving in front of the American fans. Her newfound balance between offense and defense will be key to disrupting Sabalenka’s crushing power.

Meanwhile, Sabalenka’s rise to number one highlights her consistency this year. Sabalenka has advanced to at least the semifinals of all four majors this year, showing how much she has improved her mental game and fitness. She also seemed to exorcise some semifinal demons in her comeback win over Keys.

This match will be one of contrasting styles that could lead to some explosive tennis. Gauff will need to defend her second serve well and trust her forehand, as Sabalenka will undoubtedly target Gauff’s weaker groundstroke. Sabalenka will need to be patient in her attack and keep her emotions in check, as Gauff’s movement and the crowd support may disrupt her.

We could be in for an epic final. Gauff’s time will come, but in the big moments, I lean towards those with the bigger weapons. I predict Sabalenka will secure her second major title with a dynamic three-set victory over Gauff.

Next. The good. bad, and ugly from the US Open so far. dark