September 8, 2023
Coco Gauff produced another composed display to reach her first US Open final.
But there was heartbreak for Madison Keys, who twice seemed within touching distance of making it an all-American women’s showpiece.
Instead Gauff will play Aryna Sabalenka in Saturday’s big match – and that also promises to be a cracker.
Coco Gauff and Madison Keys can take great pride from their adventures at the US Open. Both will surely feature among the star attractions at Wimbledon 2024.
For Coco, Flushing Meadows could yet be the scene of her first Grand Slam triumph, though.
She maintained a cool head against Karolina Muchova, even when climate protestors glued themselves down and caused significant delays in the middle of the match.
It was Coco Gauff who stuck to her task most effectively in the long run – and emerged to beat Muchova 6-4, 7-5.
Clever Coco almost predicted the chaos. She explained: ‘The crazy thing was that I had told myself, “I bet there is going to be a climate change protest in the final.” I didn’t think it would be in the semi-final.
‘Immediately when it happened, I told the referee it was a protest.’
Coco was a set and 1-0 up when play was interrupted. But she managed to get the job done before there was any tie-break drama at the end of the second.
In theory, Gauff will be the fresher of the two finalists, after the epic that unfolded in the early hours in New York.
It looked for all the world that Madison Keys was about to pull off a huge surprise and join Coco in the final. She even won the first set against favourite Sabalenka 6-0.
Madison was three points from glory when she led 5-3 and 15-0 in the second. And she even enjoyed a 4-2 advantage in the decider.
Agonisingly, Keys couldn’t quite get over the line against the woman who has already won the Australian Open this year.
Not even Serena or Venus Williams were in the habit of winning both hardcourt titles in the same year.
And Sabalenka thought she was through to the final, even before she completed her truly extraordinary 0-6, 7-6 (7-1), 7-6 (10-5) comeback.
She explained of the deciding super-breaker: ‘I thought it was up to seven. I don’t know. It was just all over the place. It was crazy. Thanks to my team for reminding me it was up to ten.’
Coco Gauff and Aryna Sabalenka will fancy their chances of glory at Wimbledon 2024 as well. And you can already book your seats for the biggest fortnight of them all.
Wimbledon 2024 will be a unique occasion, as the new generation continue to break through. Be part of the glamour and history in London next July.