The US Open has reached the last weekend and for the women’s singles title, Coco Gauff and Aryna Sabalenka will battle it out for a first-ever title apiece at Flushing Meadows. Gauff is in fact searching for her first grand slam title after being beaten in her only final to date, while Sabalenka has one under her belt thanks to triumphing at the Australian Open earlier this year.
The pair both had plenty to contend with in their respective semi-finals earlier this week; the American saw her match halted due to a protest partway through, while Belarusian star Sabalenka had to come from a set down to beat homecrowd favourite Madison Keys. Gauff 4-0 Sabalenka* (2-6, 6-3) On we go. Gauff looking to go four games up – but Sabalenka comes out firing and rattles in a big couple of early winners. Nothing left to lose at this point to be fair. It looks at one point as though the No.2 seed is going to smash one in for break point, but an unreal return backhand from Gauff instead makes it 30-30.The pendulum swings, and she wraps it up. Four games to love!*Gauff 3-0 Sabalenka (2-6, 6-3)
Sabalenka has to dig deep now and get her own service back into action. Can she do it? Her cause isn’t helped as her dampner comes flying off the middle of the first point. No let played though and Gauff wins it – she’s winning the mental side of this battle very clearly too. Break point for Gauff and this is a crucial one…and Sabalenka looks to be crumbling. Her shot flies out, long, and it’s a double break for Gauff!Gauff 2-0 Sabalenka* (2-6, 6-3)
One wide off the net from Sabalenka and things are falling for Gauff now after that slow start. What a recovery it has been over the last hour or so. Still a way to go, though. She does what she needs to in this game though to open up the 2-0 lead, Sabalenka smashing a wild one off the rim into the crowd.*Gauff 1-0 Sabalenka (2-6, 6-3)
That’s 45 unforced errors from Sabalenka across the two opening sets. She’ll need to improve that if she is to win this decider, but it doesn’t start that way as a lobbed return is there to volley or let bounce. She opts to volley and it’s into the net. Fast forward two points and it’s more of the same, a forehand straight into the net for 30-30. So many of those this evening. But that resilience from Sabalenka is on display next time out, hitting into the corners three times in a row and eventually finding the winner. Even so it’s only heading one way in this game and Gauff breaks Sabalenka with a brilliant showing, sprinting to the net after another net clip, then reading the lob to smash a winner and send the crowd to their feet once more.