US Open full of surprises as we move closer to the finals
Sep 08, 2023
It looked like Delray Beach-based Coco Gauff was on her way to an easy win. Her opponent, Czech Karolina Muchova, was down 5-1. Gauff was serving for the set. Then, everything changed. Muchova went on a surprise run and got within striking distance. The match was suddenly 5-4.
Then, Gauff demostrated poise. Composure. Control. These appear to be growing traits in the 19-year-old's game since coach Brad Gilbert entered the fray. She's putting more topspin on her sometimes-erratic forehand. She's becoming more consistent and playing percentage tennis. She's maturing on the court.
Above: Coco Gauff firing off a return or serve against Katrina Muchova. Photo by Todd Pechter for Florida Tennis.
Gauff closed out the set. And, eventually, closed out the match.
But the win was not without interruptions. There was a bizarre break in the match due to a group of climate protesters in the crowd. And Muchova adjusted her strategy and got close in the second set too. Through it all, Gauff chalked up another win, 6-4, 7-5.
Gauff confessed in a post-match interview, "I think I can improve a lot, but how I have been able to manage with the game [that] I have now is something that I'm happy with.”
In the final, Gauff will face a hard-hitting Aryna Sabalenka who edged out fellow Floridian Madison Keys, 0-6, 7-6(1), 7-6(5).
Above: Ben Shelton surprises everyone as the only unseeded player to make it this deep into the US Open this year. Photo by Todd Pechter for Florida Tennis.
On the men's side today, we'll witness Florida Gator Ben Shelton go up against Serbian GOAT Novak Djokovic. The 20-year-old, a sleeper star of the tournament, is sure to surprise The Djoker with his hyper-aggressive game. The two have never played before.
Meanwhile, tonight's match pits 20-year-old Carlos Alcaraz against an always-dangerous Daniil Medvedev. Alcaraz admits he's been playing at a "great level" and that he matches up well against Medvedev.
Above: Florida Tennis contributor Dave "Koz" Kozlowski previews how Alcaraz views his chances today (Source: Koz Kozlowski)
Our prediction: more surprises are likely to surface in the men's matches today and women's final tomorrow. Needless to say, we're rooting for Team Florida, Gauff and Shelton, to take New York's US Open trophy back to America's Sunshine State.
Written by Florida Tennis' Executive Editor and Publisher Matt Pressman with photos and commentary from Florida tennis contributor Todd Pechter. Video recap of Alcaraz from Florida Tennis contributor Dave "Koz" Kozlowski. Top photo: Coco Gauff has managed to run down almost everything that has come her way while running over her opponents en route to the Finals at this year's US Open. Photo by Todd Pechter for Florida Tennis.