As Coco Gauff reaches her second Grand Slam final, and first at the US Open, with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Karolina Muchova on Thursday, it’s easy to forget that the American star is only 19 years old.
Gauff has long been heralded as the future of women’s tennis, ever since she burst onto the scene as a 15-year-old and the youngest player ever to qualify for Wimbledon, beating Venus Williams en route to the fourth round in 2019.
Since then, high expectations have followed the teenager, which she has sometimes struggled to match, as when she was defeated in the first round at SW19 this summer.
But since then, Gauff has impressed on the hard court, winning in Washington early last month, reaching the quarter-finals in Montreal and adding another title in Cincinnati before arriving in New York for this year’s ATP Finals.
Gauff, seeded sixth, maintained her impressive form at Flushing Meadows, becoming the youngest American to reach the US Open final since Serena Williams in 1999.
The question now is can she match Williams again by winning Saturday’s final against second seed Aryna Sabalenka?
“I truly believe that I now have the maturity and ability to do this,” said Gauff, who came close to achieving a major title last year at the French Open but lost to Iga Swiatek.
“I grew up watching this tournament a lot, so getting to the final means a lot.
“There is a lot to celebrate, but you know the mission is not completed as hoped [the fans] You can support me on Saturday.”
Gauff added: “After Wimbledon, I wasn’t expecting to do well, honestly. No matter what happens [in the final]”I’m really proud of the way I’ve handled the last few weeks.”
Sabalenka is ready to “fight for every point” in the final
Gauff is waiting for Sabalenka in the final, after the Belarusian player deprived her fans of the possibility of holding an all-American final after she returned in an unusual way to defeat Madison Keys, who reached the 2017 final.
Sabalenka lost the first set 6-0, and was trailing Keys 5-4 in the second set. The American player was serving to win the match, before she successfully broke her serve, eventually winning in two sets.
Sabalenka (25 years old) won the Australian Open last January, but suffered five other semi-final defeats during her semi-final career on Thursday, including two in a row in Flushing Meadows.
“Luckily for me, somehow magically, I don’t know how, I was able to turn this match around,” Sabalenka said. “You just have to keep trying, keep hanging in there, keep pushing.
“I’m really glad that after that reaction I was able to stay focused and was able to stay focused because… it could be the other way around.”
“Reaching the US Open final for the first time means a lot to me.”
With the win, Sabalenka achieved an impressive 23-2 record in Grand Slam matches this season, guaranteeing her a world No. 1 ranking next week, regardless of the outcome of Saturday’s final.
But she knows a stern test awaits her in the form of Gauff, who will play in front of a large crowd, in the final on Saturday.
“She is an incredibly good player,” Sabalenka said of her opponent. “She plays really good tennis here.
“Yes, the audience will support it a lot. It’s something I expect. It’s not crazy.”
“I’ll go out there and do everything I can. I’ll be there. I’ll fight for every point. I’ll do my best.”
US Open on Sky Sports
Tennis has returned to Sky, adding to its existing sports portfolio and reaffirming the broadcaster as the home of live sport in the UK and Ireland.
Sky Sports’ new mixed reality studio features multiple custom-designed LED screens, built-in lights and an open ceiling, making the space bursting with color and energy to reflect the vibrancy of the year’s latest Grand Slam.
With integrated augmented reality capabilities, a multi-use LED floor, and a “fourth wall,” viewers will be transported to Arthur Ashe Stadium in an immersive 360-degree environment. Our tennis experts will take the viewer into the players’ eyes to provide expert Hawkeye analysis and insights as the tournament progresses.
The technology used allows us to add a whole new dimension and will bring customers closer to the action.
Match highlights will be available across Sky Sports TV and our social media platforms.
Video highlights will also be available on the Sky Sports website and app, where there will also be daily live text commentary on the Sky Sports website and app, as well as live scores, reports, analysis and features.
Stream the US Open on Sky Sports with NOW. Cancel at any time.