On Saturday, September 9, the final match of the US Open women’s singles category took place. From the top half of the table, the sixth number of the WTA ranking, Cori Gauff, came to the decisive match, and from below, the second racket in the world, Aryna Sabalenka, who on September 11 will officially lead the ranking, displacing Iga. Swiatek from the first line.
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Gauff beat 10th-seeded Karolina Muchova in the semifinals, who has been a pleasant surprise in the majors this season. At Roland Garros, the 27-year-old Czech reached the final, but then stopped in the semifinals 6-4, 7-5 in favor of Corey. This meeting was also remembered for the scandal involving environmental activists. And Sabalenka, in an incredibly dramatic match, broke through the resistance of 2017 US Open finalist Madison Keys, despite the “shuttlecock” in the first set. Arina won the match by a rare score of 0:6, 7:6 (7:1), 7:6 (10:5).
For 19-year-old Gauff, this final was her second on TBS. At Roland Garros last year, Swiatek left the young American no chance: 6-1, 6-3. Sabalenka also reached the final of a major for the second time in his career. However, for her, unlike her rival, her first experience was successful. At this year’s Australian Open, the Belarusian won a resounding victory over Elena Rybakina: 4:6, 6:3, 6:4.
Arriving at the final, Gauff recalled the words of the legendary basketball player Kobe Bryant, five-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers. “My words on the court, ‘it’s not over yet’, are a reference to Kobe Bryant. He has incredible psychology. He didn’t celebrate when he took a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. I was a little happy and moved on. I have the same attitude. I try to enjoy the moment, but keep in mind that the matter is not over yet. The final is an incredible achievement, but reaching the final is not enough for me,” Corey said at a press conference.
Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
And Sabalenka admitted that she would like to see a representative from another country as her opponent in the final; It is obvious that at the US Open the sympathies of the local public will be on Gauff’s side. “Of course, it would be better if the opponent was not an American, so that the stands would support us equally. But the experience of the semi-final match will help me in the final, I will be fine. But I still hope that some of the fans will support me. At least a little, at least sometimes. Please (laughs),” Arina said at a press conference after winning the semifinals.
And she expressed her hope that the victorious experience of the AO-2023 final will help her: “The Australian Open final will definitely help me, there were a lot of emotions in that final. Will this be different? Don’t know. But that ending will definitely help me, I already know what emotions to expect. And I know how to deal with them. Emotionally, that ending will help me.”
Photo: Sarah Stier/Getty Images
Despite being 19 years old, Gauff had already played Sabalenka five times before the final. The score was 3-2 in favor of the American. They first played Lexington 2020 during the summer of Covid, in August. Then Corey won 7:6 (7:4), 4:6, 6:4, and in the fall of the same year in Ostrava, the Belarusian took revenge 1:6, 7:5, 7:6 ( 7 :2). Then Gauff won on clay in Rome 2021 (7:5, 6:3) and on hard in Toronto 2022 by 7:5, 4:6, 7:6 (7:4). And this spring Arina defeated her opponent in the Indian Wells quarterfinals, and also with a “flyer”: 6:4, 6:0.
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Sabalenka started to play actively from the first match and it paid off. First, he took someone else’s serve on the second break point and then, mainly thanks to Gauff’s miscues, he confidently took their game to 2-0. However, the next two games were left in the hands of the American. The Belarusian, who served in the fourth game, committed two double faults and allowed her rival to level the score 2:2.
However, Arina immediately took someone else’s game again (from the third break point!), After which she defended her serve, albeit with considerable difficulty. In this sixth game, Sabalenka, despite a series of unforced plays, saved two break points and again took a 4:2 lead. Arina did not stop there and, having made another break (here Cory made a lot of mistakes – 5-2), she prepared to serve for the match. And at the second attempt he took advantage of double set point – 6: 2 in 40 minutes. Gauff scored just three winners in the entire set, while Sabalenka had eight. But the Belarusian made more unforced errors: 14 against 10.
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Photo: Aryna Sabalenka plays the final with Cori Gauff at the US Open – 2023
In the second set, Sabalenka faced double break point in the first game, but squandered her chances, again due to her own mistakes. And in the fourth game, the Belarusian gave her rival a break point, where she allowed a double, 3: 1 in favor of Gauff. Thus, for the first time, Arina found herself in the position of catching up.
Sabalenka gathered her will into a fist and tried to catch someone else’s serve, but missed a break point in the fifth game. He had no more chances to correct the situation, although he managed to win his games. Gauff, with 5:3, served for the set and gave his rival only one move: 6:3 in 46 minutes. In this game, Arina made as many as 15 unforced errors, and Corey only seven.
Gauff, inspired by the crowd’s support, began the decisive set with a break. At a break point, Sabalenka made a deep move; after one of his shots, the ball hit the net, landed next to the American, she ran, played deep left and then scored a spike. After that, Cory quickly took serve from her for 2:0. At that time, Arina had already managed to accumulate five unforced in two games. In the third game, Gauff also scored a break, after which he left with 0:30 on his serve – 4:0. In the fifth game, Sabalenka still managed to break the score, and then took a medical break, during which her left thigh was massaged.
Aryna Sabalenka receives a thigh massage in the 2023 US Open final with Cori Gauff
Photo: Broadcast Images
The break was good for the Belarusian. When play resumed, he made a break and reduced the lead to 2:4. But in the seventh game, Gauff again took someone else’s serve, after which he had to serve for the title. Here Cori did not lose a single point: 2:6, 6:3, 6:2 in 2 hours and 3 minutes.
As for Sabalenka, she made as many as 46 unforced errors during the match; Gauff was limited to 19.
This is how Gauff won his first Grand Slam title. Next Monday she will become number three in the world for the first time in her career. Sabalenka was defeated for the first time in the final of a major. And on Sunday, September 10, the men’s final will take place, in which Daniil Medvedev will face Novak Djokovic.
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The US Open 2023 will be held from August 28 to September 10. Follow all the events of the “Championship”.