On the night of September 7-8, Moscow time, the women’s singles semifinals were held at the US Open in New York. The first couple was formed by the sixth racket player in the world, the American Cori Gauff, and the representative of the Czech Republic, Karolina Muchova, who completes the top 10 of the WTA ranking. Gauff was stronger by 6:4, 7:5. The 19-year-old American reached the final of the US Open for the first time. This match was also marked by a major scandal involving environmental activists, which you read more about in a separate article.
“Throw them out!” Protesters almost disrupt first US Open women’s semi-final
And then the American Madison Keys (17) and until now the second, and since September 11, the first racket in the world, the Belarusian Arina Sabalenka, took to the court. In the quarterfinals, Keys and Sabalenka achieved the same victories on the scoreboard: 6-1, 6-4. The American turned out to be stronger than the current Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova (9), and the Belarusian defeated Zheng Qingwen (23).
Keys, 28, appears to be experiencing a second youth this year. Six years ago, Madison was one step away from the title at the US Open. Then Sloane Stephens stopped her. After that, Keys reached the semifinals on TBS three times, but lost each time. And now I have a fourth chance.
Sabalenka is playing like she has never played before. Finally there was stability in his game. This year, the Belarusian reached at least the semi-finals in all major tournaments and at the Australian Open he even won the title. If we remember that a year ago Arina also entered the top four at the US Open, it turns out that the reported semi-final became the fifth in a row on TBS.
Arina Sobolenko is the 29th queen of tennis! Who was the first racket in the world before her?
Sabalenka, according to her, understood that the public in the stands would mainly support her American rival. “I understand, of course, that she will receive more support than me. I have already played in stadiums where the stands cheered on the opponent, so this won’t bother me. I will try to stay focused and play my best tennis.
I know my team is sitting in the box. My friends cheer me on in the stadium. I have a family, that’s enough for me. But it would be very nice if the stands supported me more and not her,” he said at a press conference after the quarterfinals.
In personal meetings, the advantage was on Sabalenka’s side: 2-1. In 2023, the tennis players met in the Wimbledon quarterfinals, and then the Belarusian won in two sets: 6:2, 6:4. I wonder if Arina remembered that game before the match. Be that as it may, she was unsuccessful in the first game. Keys got a break in the first game (Sabolenka double-faulted on break point), after which she took serve and led 2-0. The Belarusian started the third game at 40-0 on serve, but then inexplicably lost her advantage, hitting another double in “exactly,” and the American increased the lead.
In the fourth game, Arina took someone else’s serve, but missed a double break point: 4-0 in favor of Madison. After that, the American confidently scored another break and then served for the set, pinning her opponent 6-0 in 31 minutes. In this game, Keys, as expected, turned out to be significantly better both in terms of winners (12 against three) and unforced errors (five against 11).
At the beginning of the second set, the tennis players won the game on serve (1:1), and then Sabalenka lost her game again. After this he had an outburst of anger. The Belarusian broke her racket and launched into an obscene tirade, for which she received a reprimand from the judge. “Once a year and shoot the stick? ####, ####, #####, in the semi-finals? -so she spoke, addressing her coach.
Despite her emotions, Arina was able to immediately recover from the break, taking advantage of her rival’s mistakes for 2:2. However, the next two matches were once again in the hands of Keys, who already at the reception delighted the audience with the most beautiful winners: 4-2. “###, is this a joke to me?!” -Sabalenka again could not contain his emotions.
The American, when she went ahead, seemed not to miss her goal. But Arina had a different opinion! With the score 5:4, Keys could not serve for the match, allowing a double, Sabalenka broke to zero and tied the score (5:5). He then took his game, also to zero, and in game 12 he was close to closing the game, but he missed a double set point on the reception, and had to play a tiebreaker. Sabalenka left no chance for her opponent: 7:1! And from the point of view of game statistics, he improved noticeably: winners-15:11, unforced errors-11:18.
And before the start of the decisive set, Keys needed help from a doctor: she had problems with her left leg. After that, his hip was bandaged.
In the deciding set, Sabalenka faced a break point in the first game, but did not capitalize on it. Then the game took a relatively calm direction, as much as possible in such a nervous US Open semi-final: the tennis players took their serves. The turning point may have come in the sixth game, when the Belarusian gave Keys a triple break point. With an ace she recovered a point, but nothing more: 4-2 in favor of the American. However, Arina made a reverse breakup: Madison started making mistakes at an inopportune time. And in the eighth game, Sabalenka fought off two break points (in other words, his opponent had hidden match points) and tied the score 4:4.
In the remaining games, Sabalenka and Keys took her serve twice; like in the second set, it all ended in a tiebreaker (only this time a championship tiebreaker, up to 10 points). The Belarusian took a 4:0 lead and then held off the American. After the score reached 7:3, Sabalenka began to rejoice, forgetting that this was a championship tiebreaker. And after working on the reception, Arina scored 9:3, thus adding six match points. And on the third attempt I achieved it: 0:6, 7:6 (7:1), 7:6 (10:5) in 2 hours 35 minutes.
This is how Aryna Sabalenka reached the final of the US Open for the first time in her career. This will be her second TBS final, following the 2023 Australian Open, which she won. The US Open women’s singles decider between Cori Gauff and Aryna Sabalenka will take place on Saturday, September 9. Follow all the events of the “Championship”.