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GRAND SLAM FINAL | US Open: Gauff holds off Muchova; Sabalenka outlasts Keys to reach final

IANS | Updated on Friday, September 08, 2023 11:55 AM IST
US Open: Gauff holds off Muchova; Sabalenka outlasts Keys to reach final

NEW YORK: For the second time in her career, American teen sensation Coco Gauff will play in a Grand Slam final after a straight-sets win against Karolina Muchova at the US Open.

Extending her exceptional summer run, Gauff defeated Muchova 6-4, 7-5 on Thursday night to earn her first trip to the women's singles final at the Flushing Meadows.

The sixth-seeded Gauff has won 11 straight matches, the best streak of her career, and 17 of 18, a stretch that includes titles in Washington D.C. and Cincinnati.

Gauff is the youngest of the four semifinalists here -- by nearly six years. The 19-year-old, is also the youngest American women's player to appear in the final of the US Open since Serena Williams in 1999.

She’s looking to become the fourth American woman to win the Open this century after Serena, her sister Venus and Sloane Stephens.

Moreover, Gauff is the youngest woman to appear in multiple Grand Slam finals (including 2020 Roland Garros) since Maria Sharapova (2004 Wimbledon and 2006 US Open) and the youngest American woman to do it since Monica Seles, from1990-93.

In the Saturday's final, Gauff will meet No.2 Aryna Sabalenka, who narrowly escaped No.17 Madison Keys in a third-set tiebreak in the second match of the night.

Sabalenka, the WTA No. 1 in-waiting, emerged 0-6, 7-6(1), 7-6(5) from a back-and-forth semifinal against Keys to advance to her first US Open final.

The 25-year-old Belarusian hadn't dropped a set en route to the semifinals, and had only lost 21 games in 10 sets played, but was put on the back foot early by a dazzling performance from Keys in the opening set.

Officially rising to the top of the rankings after the US Open, Sabalenka continues a breakthrough season at the majors with her second Slam final this year. She is also the first player to reach the semifinals of all four Grand Slam events in a single year since Serena did so in 2016.

The post-midnight victory marks Sabalenka’s 50th match-win of the year. It is the first time in her career that Sabalenka has hit that total number of tour-level wins in a single season.