Coco Gauff and Aryna Sabalenka had very different Thursday night matches to reach the US Open final. Gauff had to overcome a 49-minute delay for protestors in her 6-4, 7-5 win over Karolina Muchova. Later on, Sabalenka had to bounce back from losing the first six games of the match to Madison Keys.
At 19, Gauff is the youngest US Open finalist since Serena Williams in 1999. Saturday will be her second attempt at a Grand Slam title after falling to Iga Swiatek in the 2022 Roland Garros final.
“In my final at the French Open, I think I put too much on the moment, and on Saturday I'm gonna go out there and just play like it’s another tennis match,” Gauff said. “ approached the match today [against Muchova] like that. I told myself I'm just gonna go out there, have fun, and play the tennis I know how to play.”
Gauff has had the best preparation possible having won titles in Washington and Cincinnati going into New York.
Until her dramatic 0-6, 7-6(1), 7-6(5) win over Keys, Sabalenka had not given up a set in New York. She dropped it in emphatic fashion.
"Somehow, I don't know how, I turned around this match and it really means a lot to be in the US Open final for the first time," Sabalenka said.
Sabalenka has more experience at this stage of a major, having won her maiden major at this year’s Australian Open. She’s been to the semifinals or better of every Grand Slam this year.
The 25-year-old Sabalenka is guaranteed to become the new WTA No. 1 on Monday but will she achieve the milestone as the US Open champion?
(2) Aryna Sabalenka (UTR Rating 12.87) vs. (6) Coco Gauff (12.94)
According to Universal Tennis INSIGHTS, Gauff is favored at 54%. That slight edge is largely due to her overall UTR Rating being higher along with her three-month trending and hard-court UTR Rating.
Gauff leads 3-2 in their career head-to-head meetings dating back to 2020, but Sabalenka dismissed Gauff 6-4, 6-0 in March at Indian Wells. Gauff’s only win over Sabalenka in the past two years was a dramatic third-set tiebreak win in Toronto last year. They’ve never faced off in a Grand Slam.
The women’s final will take place on Saturday at 4 p.m. EST.