US Open

Gauff downs Muchova to reach US Open final after protesters disrupt match


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Gauff downs Muchova to reach US Open final after protesters disrupt match

THRILLED. Coco Gauff of the USA celebrated after beating Karolina Muchova of Czech Republic in the US Open semifinals.

Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

‘I grew up watching this tournament so much so it means a lot to me to be in the finals,’ says American teen sensation Coco Gauff

NEW YORK, USA – American Coco Gauff beat Karolina Muchova, 6-4, 7-5, to reach her first US Open final on Thursday, September 7, after the match was halted for nearly an hour when an environmental activist glued his feet to the floor of Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Gauff, who had beaten Muchova in the Cincinnati final last month to claim the biggest title of her career, fed off the energy of the home crowd to get past 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.”

Gauff, the sixth seed, will next face the winner of the other semifinal between compatriot Madison Keys and Belarusian second seed Aryna Sabalenka.

The match was delayed by roughly 50 minutes early in the second set as tournament officials removed two protesters from the stands but struggled to remove a third, who had apparently glued himself to the iconic tennis venue.

Gauff swept the first three games of the opening set and broke her opponent again in the sixth.

Muchova, this year’s Roland Garros runner-up, capitalized on some mistakes by the 19-year-old and broke straight back in the seventh, raising her level from there to break Gauff again in the ninth.

The Czech’s good work went to waste, however, as she committed a trio of unforced errors in the 10th game, allowing Gauff to break to love and take the set.

Left the court

After a routine hold by Gauff to open the second set, shouts were heard from high up in the stands as disturbance erupted in the upper bowl of Arthur Ashe Stadium, the sport’s largest venue with a seating capacity of over 23,000.

Both players sat on their benches as security staff members quickly moved to quell the disruption.

As the delay stretched on, both players left the court as police officers surrounded the remaining protester before removing him from the venue with his hands behind his back.

After the players returned they warmed up again on court before resuming play, neither appearing rattled by the incident.

Muchova double-faulted to help Gauff break in the eighth game but saved match point in the next game before breaking the American’s serve to keep the match going.

The 27-year-old Czech saved four more match points in the 12th game but Gauff would not be denied, surviving a 40-shot rally on the penultimate point with a forehand winner before cheering with delight as her opponent sent a backhand past the baseline on the sixth match point.

Muchova gave credit to her opponent but told reporters that she was disappointed in the quality of her own play on Thursday.

“I was not feeling it from the start until the end,” she said. “I’m pretty sad about the outcome, that I didn’t put the best out of me on the court. Yeah, just kind of sad about the performance.”


Stacey Allaster, United States Tennis Association (USTA) Chief Executive Professional Tennis, told ESPN the disturbance involved three climate protesters.

Two were removed peacefully while a third had glued his feet to the cement floor, she added. He was later freed and seen leaving the stadium in handcuffs.

Photographs of the scene showed three protesters wearing shirts with the slogan, ‘End Fossil Fuels.’

As players looked into the stands, security flooded into the section around where protesters were shouting. Television pictures showed more than a dozen law enforcement officers in the section.

Players were escorted off the court by a USTA official and returned for a warm-up 45 minutes later before play resumed.

Several major sporting events have been targeted by climate groups this year. ‘Just Stop Oil’ protesters interrupted play at Wimbledon in July, releasing orange ticker-tape mixed with jigsaw puzzle pieces during matches. –

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