The semifinals delivered much more entertainment than the quarterfinals phase, where all the matches were pretty straightforward. Gauff gave away just two games in a match against Jelena Ostapenko, which was considered to be a hit after the Latvian's victory over Iga Swiatek in the preceeding round. Ostapenko was seemingly out of gas and did not relate to her performance from round of 16 anyhow. The American has faced Karolina Muchova in the semis. The world's number 10 had also no issues in overcoming her QF opponent, as she won 6-0 6-3 over Sorana Cirstea.
Sabalenka faced Madison Keys in the semifinal, and both of them showed a great performance in quarters, taking the dominant victories over top notch opponents. The Belarusian scored a routine victory over Qinwen Zheng, winning by 6-1 6-4, while Keys did not give too many chances for Marketa Vondrousova, defeating the Wimbledon 2023 champion with the same score.
Gauff handles the pressure
Hopes for the all-American line-up in Saturday's final were alive after first semifinal on Thursday's evening, as Cori Gauff defeated Karolina Muchova by 6-4 7-5. The final score was close, but it was the result of Gauff's vulnerability to cross the finish line while being up by far in both sets. The American was a dominant force from the start, quickly moving up into 5-1 lead, but Muchova managed to fight back and cleared the double-break gap in the matter of just 3 games. Gauff regrouped well and regained her advantage, breaking her opponent to love in 10th game and clinched the first set despite not being able to convert a chance of serving for it twice in a row earlier on. Second set was quite more competitive with confident holds of serve on both sides. Gauff got a first chance to gain a break in 4th game, but converted the second one in 8th game, serving for the match just after it. Despite having first matchpoint on the raqcuet, the 19 years-old got denied to close the match with another comeback break performed by Muchova. While the settlement of this set was closing to tiebreak, Gauff put the pressure on Muchova's serve during 12th game. The American produced 5 matchpoints and advanced into final after the longest and most entertaining game in whole the match.
Comeback win for Sabalenka
Aryna Sabalenka has accomplished a rare achievement of advancing at least into semifinals in all the Grand Slams this year. Two previous major campaigns were not super successful for the Belarusian though, as she did not manage to seal the victory despite being a set and break up in the penultimate matches of Roland Garros and Wimbledon. This time, the roles have reversed, at Sabalenka moved into final in Flushing Meadows, after coming back almost out of nowhere in the clash against Madison Keys.
The new world's number one, who will take the crown for the first time in her career on Monday, was a favourite of the match against Keys related to odds, but Keys was surely a one capable of taking up the fight, considering her performance during whole the fortnight in New York. Barely anyone could expect, that the American will kick-off this battle so well, as Keys won the opening set by 6-0. The world's number 17 played brilliant stuff with 12 winners and just 5 unforced errors, while Sabalenka was on the reverse gear at the same time, committing 12 unforced errors to just 3 winners. The Belarusian was playing a little bit better in second set, but it was still not enough to avoid the situation, when Keys was serving for the match within a score 6-0 5-4. The American has seemingly not handle the pressure well, as she got broken to love in a crucial game, which could give her second Grand Slam's final appearance after achieving the same 6 years ago here in New York. Keys struggled also in the following service game, but managed to save two matchpoints and forced the tiebreak, but Sabalenka used the momentum being on her side and won it convincingly by 7-1.
Keys regrouped after slipping the chance away and built another advantage in decisive set. Unfortunately for her and for the whole home crowd, the turn of events after moving up into 4-2 lead went not as desired again, as Keys got broken back in the following game and did not convert any of both breakpoints created in 8th game, which helped Sabalenka to come back into 4-4. This great battle got settled in super-tiebreak, where Sabalenka won by 10-5. The Belarusian could celebrate the win even twice, as she has forgotten about the super tie-break rule and thought that she won while being 7-3 up already.
Saturday's final can surely be expected as a great battle staying on the world class level. Both the finalists were considered in the tight group of favorites in their halves of draw before the start of tournament. Cori Gauff can expect a big support from whole the home crowd, as she resisted the pressure of being a favorite of this tournament after her impressive run during August's hard courts swing. Sabalenka can celebrate an amazing performance showed this year in all the majors, as she approached the US Open final already knowing, that her main goal of becoming the world's number one became true this week.