*Flushing, New York – Coco Gauff beat Karolina Muchova (Czech) in the semifinals on Thursday to take a shot at hoisting her first US Open trophy. She took care of the job in straight sets, 6-4, 7-5.
Gauff had to survive the loss of seven match points – including one while serving for the match – to take down her opponent AND she had to survive a 38-minute delay of the match due to environmental protestors in the stands. During the delay, most of the boisterous protestors were removed but one had literally glued his feet to the concrete surface and special care had to be exercised to “exorcise” him. Coco was up a set and a game when the chaos started.
But that didn’t stop WorldRated No. 6 from regaining her focus and getting back to work.
Coco had just beaten Muchova in the Cincinnati final 18 days ago, so she likely knew she could handle the feat going in. And the Czech did appear to be rattled initially, dropping the first five games of the match. But the world no. 10 managed to eke out a last-minute hold at 5-1, then rattle off three more games before Gauff halted the momentum and took the first set, 6-4. And once the pair returned from the unexpected break, the two held even until the business end of the match when Coco broke finally bork her again at 5-4.
Coco was then serving for the match.
She needed to hold her composure at this point so she’d put herself just one match shy of her dreams of winning the US Open. But the gravity of the moment and Muchova’s never-say-die intensity caused her to drop her serve – after having a match point – for 5-4. “Little Coco” would’ve buckled and possibly lost the momentum and the match from there, but Coco 2.0, Coco the woman, wasn’t having it.
The 19-year-old went right back to work.
Coco gathered herself, held her next service game, and brought the score to 6-5 in her favor. Muchova had been a little shaky the whole match, but her lack of full control of her game was fully exposed during that 5-6 game. She made several wild unforced errors, to the tune of handing Gauff seven match points. And she saved them all … except one.
As the story goes, Coco overcame her stumble and broke for the win off a forced Muchova forehand error. She let out a mighty roar in celebration of her advancement and pounded her chest in the direction of her box.
Coco will now be the youngest woman to make the women’s final since, of course, Serena Williams, and the achievement comparisons between the two are now coming in droves.
When asked how it felt to be walking in Serena Williams’ shoes, she humbly responded with:
“She’s my idol and I look up to her, but she’s the GOAT and I don’t compare myself to her. I don’t feel like I carry American tennis on my shoulders as she did because we have so many Americans doing well right now.”
The tennis prognosticators all predicted Coco could take home the trophy this year. So, maybe not the weight of America, but the weight of meeting with their predictions has been on her shoulders for the last two weeks. But the Atlanta native has handled it with aplomb, delivering her best performance round for round.
So, I’ll end by congratulating her for the achievement and the growth … and by proudly taking this moment to say, I, too, “told you so.”
Coco Gauff will play the new world no. 1, Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, in Saturday’s final at 4 EST. It would’ve been compatriot Madison Keys (a story in and of itself) who was seeking her second US Open final appearance.
MORE NEWS ON EURWEB: Coco Gauff Has Reached Her First US Open Semifinal | VIDEOs
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